Vulnerability of port and harbor communities to earthquake and tsunami hazards in the Pacific Northwest Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sj139493s

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  • Earthquakes a . tsunamis pose significant threats to port and harbor communities in the Pacific Northwest. Developing effective mitigation and preparedness plans requires a comprehensive understanding of community vulnerability. Research presented here focuses on the vulnerability of ports and harbors to earthquake and tsunami hazards and includes a regional study of stakeholder perceptions, a community-based process that integrates stakeholder and technical advisor expertise and a GIS-based approach that combines regional data with local stakeholder knowledge. The perception study was conducted to gauge hazard and vulnerability awareness, current state of readiness and priorities for future work. To date, communities have developed mitigation and response strategies, with less energy devoted to post-event recovery plans. Although city and county hazard strategies have been developed, little has been done to make individual offices or businesses less vulnerable. To further vulnerability reduction efforts, respondents rated public outreach programs, cost/benefit analyses and hazard mapping efforts as high priority. The second study of port and harbor vulnerability focuses on an assessment approach based on the integration of technical advisor and stakeholder expertise in a collaborative workshop setting. Through this process, participants were most concerned with potential life loss and other nonstructural vulnerability issues rather than structural issues, such as damage to specific buildings. The inclusion of stakeholder input and assessments from both geographic and community function viewpoints provided a more robust representation of community vulnerability issues than only site-specific technical analyses. The third study of port and harbor vulnerability focuses on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, with an emphasis on identifying community resources that protect life safety, the built environment and infrastructure integrity, and economic vitality. Products from this GIS approach, such as composite vulnerability maps, can serve as a basis for setting community priorities for increasing resiliency to natural hazards. Results from this GIS approach suggest that widely available on-line data sources must be supplemented with local knowledge if realistic preparedness and mitigation strategies are to be developed. Research presented here will help numerous agencies, organizations, and communities set priorities in future mitigation actions, be it research action plans, resource allocation, or investment planning.
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