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Tsunami: A year of recovery and lessons


Before the one-year anniversary of the 2011 tsunami gets too far behind us, we want to congratulate all the players involved in the successful voyage toward recovery at the Port of Brookings Harbor. 

A year ago, the boats, docks and adjacent facilities were stirred around in a real-life version of a destruction derby when the tsunami waves generated in Japan collided with flood waters on the Chetco River. The damage here was something on the order of $8 million to public and private property. The Port of Brookings Harbor, with the help of many, many partners, has orchestrated and engineered nearly a full recovery, with completion clearly in sight.

The course to recovery has not been nearly so swift nor easy for our neighbors at the Crescent City Harbor, for many different reasons.

From the very first alert of a tsunami threat on the morning of March 11, the paths of the two ports diverged. Crescent City had a forced evacuation; Brookings did not, leaving crews free to mitigate damage during the event. The waves were hitting Crescent City first, giving Brookings a small window of warning. Our damage was the worst in Oregon; Crescent City was third on the California list. That created a difference in response from state and federal regional offices, that showed up in the first week: Brookings was declared a disaster in three days, while Crescent City waited. 

It’s been a fascinating difference to watch.

 We also want everyone to remember some of the lessons that have been offered over the past 12 months. Most important of all, the threat of a tsunami is very, very real – something we forget with the passage of time from the last event. To learn more, see the new signage along the boardwalk at the port, or attend one of the upcoming state workshops.

Then make disaster plans with your family and neighbors.



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