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With sunlight sparkling off surrounding Yaquina Bay, workers are putting up an ocean-studies building, smack in the middle of an area expected to one day be hit by a tsunami.
Experts say it's only a matter of time before a shift in a major fault line off the Oregon coast causes a massive earthquake that generates a tsunami as much as seven stories tall.
Work - Oregon - State - University - Marine
Even as work on Oregon State University's Marine Studies Building was underway in Newport, the Legislature went a step further and repealed a ban on construction of new "critical facilities" in tsunami inundation zones, allowing fire stations, police stations and schools to be built in the potential path of a tsunami.
Passage of the bill in June was little noticed during one of the most tumultuous legislative sessions in Oregon history. But it has since been roundly criticized — including by Gov. Kate Brown, who told journalists the bill's passage was one of her disappointments, even though she signed the measure and previously said it benefited economic development.
Chris - Goldfinger - Oregon - State - University
Chris Goldfinger, an Oregon State University professor and an earthquake geologist, says putting the $60 million oceanography building in the path of a tsunami is "beyond ironic," and allowing even more construction threatens lives in favor of development.
"It's foolhardy. In every other country in the world, best practice for tsunamis is avoidance, not building in a tsunami zone," Goldfinger said at a symposium for journalists in Newport that included a tour of the construction project.
Proponents - University - Facility - Point - Building
Proponents of the university facility point out that the building will withstand strong earthquakes and be higher than the biggest tsunami. It will also feature a rooftop evacuation site that can accommodate more than 900 people, accessed via an exterior ramp.
Two days of supplies, including water, food and first aid, will be kept on the roof, said Cinamon...
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