Machines for Freedom launch at Western Bikeworks

Talk of a disastrous earthquake got you down? Just keep on biking

Posted by on July 22nd, 2015 at 3:57 pm

together

People who bike together, stick together.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bikes won’t save you after the Big One, but the community built up around them just might.

There’s been a lot of unease in Portland since the publication of a fascinating yet gut-wrenching article in The New Yorker that laid out the impending Cascadia earthquake in excruciating detail.

After I read the piece, I was sort of numb for a while. Then my mind wondered (as if often does) and I started to ask the default question I ask myself around any seemingly intractable issue or policy, “How can bikes fix this?”

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011, we started asking that question: When a similar fate hits Portland, what role will bicycles play in the recovery? A year later, using bikes in disaster relief efforts had become a serious thing in Portland (and beyond). Our story archives on the topic have since become filled with reassuring vignettes of this positive trend.

But the “Really big one” Kathryn Schulz wrote about on July 20th seems so overwhelming that it didn’t feel like the right time or place to re-hash our optimistic editorial tone about how bikes will help smooth over the rough patches of recovery.

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Then it hit me: The thing that makes bicycling so powerful isn’t just the bicycles themselves, it’s the people and community that tends to gather around them.

When you do your research into survival tips (notice I said “when” not “if”), one thing you’ll learn is that many experts say the best way to ameliorate the devastating impacts is to turn to your community. Get to know your neighbors and build a community, they say, and you’ll be much better off.

That advice bodes very well for people who frequently use bicycles. While some see just a means of fun and transportation, I see a powerful community-building machine.

If you’re an advocate, activist, loyal BikePortland reader, dedicated rider, or all the above, just stop and think about how many people you’ve gotten to know through cycling. Think about how many people at your work, on your street, or at an event you’ve talked to and gotten to know better for no reason other than the fact they were on a bike.

I’ve covered countless events where hundreds — sometimes thousands! — of people have come together simply because of bicycles. I’ve seen people rally around strangers who’ve gotten seriously injured while riding. I’ve seen a tremendously strong community organize itself around the simple idea that bicycles are awesome.

When the shaking stops, it’s naive to think that bicycles alone will save us from tragedy and turmoil. They won’t. But the strong ties we’ve created through bicycling bind us together and make us more resilient — even in the face of an incomprehensible disaster. And that’s something that should make us all feel better.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

69 Comments
  • 9watts July 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    “When the shaking stops, it’s naive to think that bicycles alone will save us from tragedy and turmoil. They won’t. But the strong ties we’ve created through bicycling bind us together and make us more resilient — even in the face of an incomprehensible disaster. And that’s something that should make us all feel better.”

    Yes!
    Dependencies (on cars for transport, on natural gas for heating, or Bull Run water system for drinking, on trucks for bringing food to the store shelves) are what this is largely about. Bikes-as-transport take care of a big piece of this, and the social ties you focus on are all to the good, but heating and food and water are close behind. To make all that work is going to take time and dedication and community.

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    • paikiala July 23, 2015 at 9:09 am

      Oregon published a resiliency plan some time back that describe the likely impacts of a major quake.

      Plan:
      http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/OEM/osspac/docs/Oregon_Resilience_Plan_Final.pdf

      Resiliency Task Force and chapter links:
      http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/OEM/Pages/Resilience-Taskforce.aspx

      One to seven weeks without electricity will make the street system curious to watch.

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      • 9watts July 25, 2015 at 7:56 am

        “One to seven weeks without electricity”

        I’d be so curious to understand how they parameterized that.
        Oh, look, that time frame strikes the authors as overly optimistic:

        “Recent unpublished BPA Cascadia earthquake scenario studies of the existing transmission line system indicate that BPA’s main grid would require between 7 and 51 days for completion of emergency damage repairs to the transmission line system (Oregon and Washington) after a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia earthquake. This scenario assumes many ideal conditions (for example, that BPA employees and contractor resources are immediately available, all roads and bridges are passable, and sufficient fuel is available), which is optimistic.”
        p. 13 of
        http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/OEM/osspac/docs/06_ORP_Energy.pdf

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  • Brian Davis July 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Another attempt to make folks feel better about the Big One:

    If you math out your expected chance of dying in the quake based on the New Yorker’s numbers (1-in-3 chance of an event in the next 50 years killing ~13,000 in the PNW), and compare that to data on traffic fatalities, you’ll realize that odds you’ll get killed by a car are ten times greater than the odds that the Big One gets you. So sleep easy (but travel vigilantly)!

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    • 9watts July 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      I don’t think very many people are assuming that a 2×4 is going to conk them on the head in the earthquake itself, but months without food and water—and heat if this should happen in the winter—could be tough on a lot of people.

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    • younggods July 22, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Also if you live in an unreinforced masonry apartment or work in a downtown highrise that wasn’t built to seismic code, move out/find somewhere else to work. That should up your chances significantly. And stockpile a good amount of food and water.

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  • PNP July 22, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    I was in the 1964 Alaska earthquake (9.2 on the Richter scale) and it’s true, the neighbors all helped each other when we had no power or water, when we worried about after-shocks, etc. Fortunately, the streets in our part of town were largely intact, so getting around wasn’t difficult, but keeping warm, finding food and water, etc., wasn’t easy.

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    • 9watts July 22, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      “… but keeping warm, finding food and water, etc., wasn’t easy.”

      Can you say more about that?

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  • Eric July 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I now ride faster than normal over the Sellwood bridge.

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    • Matt July 22, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      You better keep riding fast on the new Sellwood bridge. I’ve heard that bolts have sheered off during construction (enough of them to fill a conference room table), and that there were large air pockets in the concrete footers that had to be filled in.

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  • JonM July 22, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    There is no “impending” earthquake.

    Our ability to predict natural disasters is even worse that our ability to predict climate change which is even worse than our ability to predict the weather.

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    • mran1984 July 22, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      The weather forecast is quite accurate. I base my riding location on it!

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    • Psyfalcon July 22, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      Unless the continental plates stop moving there will be an earthquake.

      We may all be dead by then, but it could be tomorrow. Impending enough.

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    • 9watts July 22, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      “There is no ‘impending’ earthquake.”

      Interesting. And this is because you say so?

      Just because climate change and earthquakes are inconvenient; might demand of us that we change how we go about our lives, doesn’t ipso facto mean that those who talk about probabilities and scenarios related to thse events, these phenomena don’t know what they are talking about.

      http://digest.bps.org.uk/2012/10/why-do-children-hide-by-covering-their.html

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    • Chris I July 22, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Wow. Have you done any research on the Cascadia subduction fault? The evidence is very clear. It may not happen in our lifetime, but this region will see a massive earthquake at some point in the future.

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  • Gena July 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I picked up some supplies today at Andy and Bax & Next Adventure. When I bought my hand-crank radio/flashlight at NA the cashier said she had sold 20 just today! People are getting (a little) prepared, I hope.

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  • AllisonD July 22, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I’ve overwhelmed myself a bit lately with reading about how to prepare for the predicted big quake as well as its predicted impacts (bridges, water, etc.). But I’ve also found myself thinking a lot about what an incredible opportunity this quake will present us. Think of the ways we can rebuild the city in better ways–with increasing the focus and space for walking and riding, and decreasing the footprint that motor vehicles are given. I find the possibilities quite exciting.

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    • rachel b July 23, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      Agh! What? Really? Agh! This is positive thinking gone way too far, and it’s also freaking me out! Or were you joking? No offense intended!

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  • Jim July 22, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    That’s totally going to work with downed trees and power lines, not to mention land slides. OK, maybe not. Cool fantasy, though.

    P.S. I suppose bikes are going to prevent the inevitable Cholera and Typhus epidemics, too, right?

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  • JonM July 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    And then there is the front page story on the Oregonian’s page about a tsunami…seriously, dat scaremongering.

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    • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Right. Tell that to the residents of Sendai.

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  • tedder July 22, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Cycling onto Fremont Bridge during Bridge Pedal always feels like the future to me- no noise, friendly “traffic”.

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  • longgone July 22, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Earthquakes, bike theft, newbie cyclists rants. Argh! I vote that all posts tommorow be fuzzy warm kitten cuddles.

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  • kenny July 22, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Did anyone else think that maybe the influx of people moving here might slow down due to such articles? Fear of Earthquake magnitude 9.0+ on the horizon?

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    • 9watts July 22, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      Short answer: no. (you been to SF recently? I heard they are on a fault too)

      But after the big one the population may well decline/stop growing/blow away.

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  • Tom Hardy July 22, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    I spoke to a demographer last week and he said that Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties are looking at an increase of one to one and a half million new residents in the next 5 years. The influx is from Californians moving here for the water. Realtors are all ready gearing up. the biggest problem is selling the houses in California.
    Subduction zone or not, the biggest problem from flooding will be in the coastal towns below 50 foot ASL. My frame house has seizmic upgrades.

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    • Mike Quiglery July 23, 2015 at 5:40 am

      Moving here for the water? Aquifers in Washington County are being drawn down at an alarming rate while snowfall in the Bull Run is half of what it was a few years ago. And some small towns down valley are already under water restrictions. Stay tuned……

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      • Chris I July 23, 2015 at 8:04 am

        For Bull Run it doesn’t matter if precipitation falls as rain or snow; the reservoirs will fill either way. Bull Run can currently provide 2x the current draw of the existing users, and usage has actually gone down 16% in recent years, even with population growth.

        If our region maintains a strong urban growth boundary and continues to add population in the city, we will be fine. If we allow the region to sprawl, and replace forests with suburban sprawl, we will have a water problem (as sprawling housing uses much more water).

        Eastern Oregon, however, is in trouble. They rely on snow melt for their summer water.

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        • Mike July 23, 2015 at 9:07 am

          Sprawl is already taking place. It will only increase with the additional 1-1.5M people moving in. For evidence, you only need to look at Sandy, Clackamas, Estacada, East Gresham, Happy Valley, etc. and how they have changed in the past 8-10 years. All of those areas rely pretty heavily on Bull Run.

          Additionally, 1.5M more people would probably put us over the 2x that Bull Run is capable of handling. This is all depending on where in the region the bulk of the people move to.

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        • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 10:40 am

          ” Bull Run can currently provide 2x the current draw of the existing users”

          Really?
          Sounds like you are not familiar with the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

          http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/29785

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      • paikiala July 23, 2015 at 9:15 am

        Los Angeles is a city built in a desert, similar to Phoenix. Their water is mostly imported from other parts of California and other states, with calls to begin desalination of the Pacific Ocean.

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        • paikiala July 23, 2015 at 9:15 am

          Pacific Ocean water.

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  • Peter R July 23, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Assuming I survive the initial quake, and then once I find a way over the river with my bike (and wife of course) I’m just pedaling east until I get back to NH. 🙂

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  • Mike July 23, 2015 at 9:20 am

    HA!

    “Save me, trusty bike! Build a fire so I can boil some water to drink. Then go find some food. Also, stitch up this huge laceration and get me some antibiotics, my fat tire friend.”

    Bicycles aren’t going to save anyone from anything. It is a tool – nothing more, nothing less. A handgun is arguably more useful as a tool.

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    • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

      “A handgun is arguably more useful as a tool.”

      Nice.

      You going to kill a coyote with that, to roast on a spit?

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      • rainbike July 23, 2015 at 11:22 am

        Coyotes will be fair game, but more likely, tools such as this will be used by the desperate to relieve the smugly prepared of their carefully laid emergency cache – and perhaps their cargo bike to carry it all off. When all hell breaks loose, all hell will break loose. I’ve got one in the go-bag, and we’ll be heading to a place where there are more.

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      • Mike July 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        I will probably use it to keep the unprepared from taking our food and water. And seriously, a coyote? WTF would I do with a coyote? Why wouldn’t I use a .22 to shoot ducks, geese or rabbits?

        Did you even read the article? How much food and water do you have at your place? Enough for a week? A month? 6 months? People in Portland steal car stereos and iphones – they shoot each other for wearing the wrong colors – what do you think they will do when it comes to starving or dehydration? Especially when there is no law enforcement?

        I understand why you may not want to view our world in that light, why would anyone want to? That doesn’t mean you should put on blinders and believe that the government or Red Cross is going to swoop in and save us on the second day. How long did it take for anyone to respond adequately to Katrina? And that was only a storm/flooding that was predicted days in advance. Granted it was bigger than forecast, but so could this earthquake and tsunami.

        But then again, going on a bike ride sounds really nice. Maybe afterwords we can all get together and have a potluck.

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        • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm

          “I understand why you may not want to view our world in that light, why would anyone want to?”

          I don’t view our world in that light and don’t know why anyone would, frankly. We agree.

          “That doesn’t mean you should put on blinders and believe that the government or Red Cross is going to swoop in and save us on the second day.”

          Is that the only alternative available? Somehow I doubt it. I don’t have any blinders on about being rescued by any agency. But I have read Rebecca Solnit’s book, and Instead of blowing smoke and stirring up fear and resentment of our fellow bipeds, perhaps you could read it and let us know what you think about her conclusions. Because I thought it an excellent (if also surprising) overview of human behavior in and after a disaster (actually many kinds of disasters, including the kinds of earthquakes we’re talking about here).

          “How long did it take for anyone to respond adequately to Katrina? And that was only a storm/flooding that was predicted days in advance. Granted it was bigger than forecast, but so could this earthquake and tsunami.”

          She focuses about a third of her book on the aftermath of Katrina.

          “People in Portland steal car stereos and iphones – they shoot each other for wearing the wrong colors – what do you think they will do when it comes to starving or dehydration? Especially when there is no law enforcement?”

          The one (everyday street violence) does not necessarily have anything to do with the other (the potential for human solidarity to triumph in the wake of a disaster). Perhaps it would be more useful to study up on what actually has occurred the world over in the wake of disasters than kicking up a lot of dust.

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          • Mike July 23, 2015 at 4:03 pm

            How exactly, do you see food, water and medical supplies coming to the West Coast following an event as described in the article? Certainly not an army of cyclists coming from Hood River?

            So how long did it take for FEMA, Red Cross and the LANG to step in and actually assist those in N.O.? I seem to recall that there were quite a lot of people left to fend for themselves for a few weeks.

            You reference one book and you’re basing your rose colored view on that? Good luck and I hope you are right. And in the meantime, I will prepare for a darker scenario.

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            • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 8:06 pm

              I think you are mixing up two issues.
              (1) how will supplies come into the area? And will bikes be a part of that?

              (2) the issue we’ve been discussing here just now: the role of guns and the prospect for discord as opposed to cooperation

              I think they are both interesting and worth discussing but let’s not confuse things needlessly.
              Regarding (1), I suspect we might both agree that we are here in the PNW woefully unprepared for this. Most things (utilities, transportation, food, water) will cease to function for large swaths of the region. If we were to take this seriously NOW, prepare for it in the way that other regions have done a much better job of, our chances would be much improved. We might not be so dependent on outside help, supplies, etc. if we thought this through in advance. Nothing is impossible, but it will be a lot harder if we keep diddling.

              Regarding (2), My understanding of what actual people in actual historical disasters have done is *not* reflected in what our media and elites inflate, stoke, use to frame our view of what a disaster is. You can dismiss my interest in Solnit’s book, but it might be more useful to read a review of it or even skim the book first so we could talk about its merits and flaws. If, however, we convince each other that what is most important to know about disasters is that people become vicious, and will do anything to each other, our preparations that hew to that reasoning will go some distance toward making that outcome more likely. As just about everything worth talking about this too is a dynamic problem, one that is bound up with, will be shaped by, how we make sense of it.

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              • paikiala July 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

                Food and supplies can be delivered by ship on the river – rivers are unlikely to break during the big one.

                Sections of useful freeway can be used as airstrips for planes. Helicopters don’t need runways. Neither do air-dropped supplies.

                Rail engines are basically large diesel generators (electric motors actually move the train) and have been used as alternate electrical power sources for smaller towns. Isolating areas of the city into separate grids can assist with this. Hospitals have their own generators – fuel is their issue.

                Solar investments could dampen the effects as well.

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              • Mike July 24, 2015 at 10:24 am

                I don’t believe I am mixing up any issues as they both pertain to how one responds to a catastrophic natural disaster. If you do not believe that people will become very desperate for food and water after even 3 days, well you obviously have much more faith in your fellow human beings than I do. I remember quite vividly what the local gas stations and convenience stores did following the terrorist attacks in 2001 and again during the NE blackout in 2003. People will use a natural disaster to take advantage of others. Look at the number of sexual assaults that were reported in the wake of Katrina. Sure, there were people who stepped up and helped out, but there were just as many that used the opportunity to prey on the weak and helpless.

                The point of my response to the article was that bicycles are not going to “save us from tragedy and turmoil” any more than a gun would. These are only tools! A hammer cannot build a house. A car cannot kill a cyclist. These are inanimate objects incapable of doing anything without a human being directing them. Perhaps instead of praising and pondering the incredible two wheeled transportation option, we might focus on actual disaster preparedness or the people as the thing that can truly “save us from tragedy and turmoil”.

                Have you ever seen the show Naked and Afraid? You take two people who have never met each other, strip them naked, allow them to choose one tool and put them in the wilderness to survive for 21 days. Essentially you and I (assuming we survive) are going to need to survive an earthquake, a tsunami, and possible volcanic eruptions and then all the repercussions thereafter. If given the choice of two tools, a bike or a handgun, I choose a handgun. I have my own survival supplies and I have a gorgeous wife. I cannot defend us with a bicycle.

                FWIW – I did read the article and the reviews of the book. I was not impressed. I would counter that the media coming from N.O. suppressed a lot of what was truly happening on the ground in order to make it look like they had a better handle on what was happening. I would also suggest the possibility that many crimes were either not, or under reported during the aftermath.

                Again, to each their own. You prepare however you see fit and I will do the same.

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              • 9watts July 24, 2015 at 11:06 am

                “A hammer cannot build a house. A car cannot kill a cyclist. These are inanimate objects incapable of doing anything without a human being directing them.”

                Hard to kill someone with a pencil or a potato, or build a house with a blender. A bicycle is good for some things (getting places quickly and cheaply, inspiring others) and a gun is good for other things (killing, threatening, intimidating): the field of objects is not nearly as wide open as you are suggesting. But I do agree—and think Jonathan himself already hinted—that bikes weren’t really going to solve this; they are though potentially helpful in the familiar and perhaps some unfamiliar respects.

                “If given the choice of two tools, a bike or a handgun, I choose a handgun. I have my own survival supplies and I have a gorgeous wife. I cannot defend us with a bicycle.”

                A very American response: individualism + (the threat of) violence. I’m incredulous that you see this, first and foremost, as about defending your gorgeous wife and supplies. The only people you are going to need to ward off are those who hold views akin to yours. This attitude doesn’t scale at all. We’re going to get through this by cooperating. It has always worked this way—even in the US—and I don’t see why our disaster prospects should be any different.

                “The point of my response to the article was that bicycles are not going to ‘save us from tragedy and turmoil’ any more than a gun would.”

                You have actually been very consistent in suggesting that the gun strikes you as the more useful of the two. My incredulity and dismay at that point of view is why I keep chiming in.

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              • Mike July 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

                Agreed. I don’t understand why you keep chiming in either.

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              • 9watts July 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm

                See – cooperation wins.
                http://bikeportland.org/2015/07/24/megan-holcomb-recovered-stolen-bike-151189#more-151189

                Glad no one used a gun.

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              • Mike July 27, 2015 at 8:49 am

                Hmm. Stolen bike vs. providing food for/defending your family following a devastating natural disaster.
                Yep pretty much the same. You are spot on and I obviously stand corrected.

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              • 9watts July 27, 2015 at 8:59 pm

                “providing food for/defending your family ”

                I’m trying to imagine how this is supposed to work (in 2017 not 1817), how exactly is your handgun going to be deployed that will benefit you and your gorgeous wife.
                provide food: stick up the neighbors when you run out of salt? because I don’t think there’s going to be much left of the coyote or rabbit after you’ve bagged it with your handgun.
                defend your family: brandish it when someone comes around the corner looking for his children and you mistake him for a looter?

                I really don’t see this attitude doing anything by sewing mistrust, fear, and worse at the very moment when trust and cooperation are going to be valuable as never before. The violence you imagine to have occurred in the wake of Katrina mostly didn’t happen, but to the extent that it did I’m going to suggest that it was committed by people prepared to do violence.

                The aftermath of our big earthquake is going to be what we make of it.

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            • esther2 July 26, 2015 at 9:19 pm

              Fema was run by an incompetent. There are disaster plans in place right now for bringing in supplies. There are plans for staging in spokane for example to fly in relief. helicopters can land at the airport and truck in and distribute water. Remember, we’re white people. They won’t let us drown, starve, or die of thirst

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          • paikiala July 24, 2015 at 9:55 am

            9,
            the aftermath of Katrina was predicted years before the event occurred.

            http://www.ask.com/youtube?q=katrina+effects+predicted+pbs&v=XjZ5mAXcAy0&qsrc=472

            http://bushrewrite.americanbridge.org/category/katrina/

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  • Ben July 23, 2015 at 9:37 am

    I think we need a plan for rebuilding Portland post-Cascadia earthquake that prioritizes bikes, greenways and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure rebuilding the city in the way a lot of the biking community envision it. That’s what keeps me optimistic. Realistically, using Christchurch as an example, the positive is that they have the opportunity to rebuild a city in the 21st century. What will ours look like? In the post-quake confusion it wouldn’t hurt to have a plan to wrestle with the masses who will push for expanded highway systems….just throwing it out there.

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    • paikiala July 23, 2015 at 11:18 am

      Reducing our dependence on traffic signals can start now.

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    • rachel b July 23, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Ben–I’ve got to ask you the same question I asked AllisonD above–are you joking? It’s WAY too sunny-side-up to view the aftermath of a major earthquake as a neat ‘opportunity’ to reshape a city. Reshaping the city is something you and others may consider (and, if well-funded, do), if you come out alive and able-bodied and solvent and can survive the aftermath, but it’s bizarre to view a devastating disaster as a potential “up.” This is why positive thinkers terrify me. 😉

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      • paikiala July 24, 2015 at 9:39 am

        Consider New Orleans. It supports your vision and Ben’s. Change is possible, but it will take a long time.

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      • Mike July 24, 2015 at 10:44 am

        Hi Rachel –
        You are being so short-sighted. Sure, tens or hundreds of thousands of people and pets will die and many thousands more will suffer for months or years to come, but think of the bikeways we could have (those that survive) !

        Maybe if we are lucky, all those Russian bomber flights are a precursor to them bombing the west coast, or maybe N.Korea can do it! Then we wouldn’t have to wait for some earthquake to have incredible Sunday Parkways.

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        • Ben July 26, 2015 at 8:27 pm

          Rachel, I meant nothing humorous or ‘neat’ about the situation, just that we occupy a blip in the natural system, cities thrive and cities die. History demonstrates this. The Cascadia quake will undoubtedly be an indescribably horrific time where many will suffer and I don’t wish in any way to have to live through it. However, in the case of Christchurch, I do believe it would be an opportunity for bicycling and a better city.

          Interesting read to put this in some perspective:

          http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jan/27/christchurch-after-earthquake-rebuild-image-new-zealand

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          • rachel b July 26, 2015 at 11:51 pm

            Hi Ben. Didn’t mean to come down on you like a load of bricks. There just seems to have been the strangest sea change in the way people talk about Portland, and any talk surrounding how much ‘better’ we can make Portland at this point just fills me with exhaustion (and worry). It’s like some kind of Crusade, amongst folks who have moved here more recently, esp., and often reflects a complete disregard and lack of respect for what exists and a community (and communities) painstakingly built by residents who’ve been here many many years. I can’t imagine, even a few years ago, even having this surreal conversation about what great things we can do to remake Portland in the aftermath of the Big One.

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        • rachel b July 26, 2015 at 11:51 pm

          😉

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          • rachel b July 26, 2015 at 11:52 pm

            (the wink was for Mike’s satirical post)

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            • Mike July 27, 2015 at 8:46 am

              Thanks Rachel – I thought you might appreciate it. Or hate me forever. One of the two.

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              • rachel b July 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm

                Hah! The former. 🙂

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              • rachel b July 27, 2015 at 6:54 pm

                Eep!–hadn’t noted the debate going on above, negligently popping in and out as I have. Apologies to all–catching up now.

                Skeptic and cynic that I am, I’ve got a lot of respect for David Carr, The Guardian et al, incl. 9watts–the articles he cited took me by surprise. I remain ever dubious about people but those are some thought-provoking reads.

                The idea of some folks in Portland reacting to some city-razing event with unseemly enthusiasm (“clean slate!”) was what I was commenting and worrying about (and is what made me chuckle over Mike’s comment). To me, it feels very close to a lot of the arguments I hear presently for tearing down this to put up that and for accommodating unchecked growth. And that attitude not only worries me but scares me.

                I agree with the base idea that the community biking provides can only be a good thing in the aftermath of an earthquake, in the coping, and that having a bike will indeed be an asset in a disaster zone.

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  • B. Carfree July 23, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I expect a functioning electric grid and food supplies will be a short bike tour away on the other side of the Cascades, or Siskiyous if I’m feeling strong. It should be a fun adventure on the logging roads.

    I guess it’s a good thing I keep my touring supplies, complete with water filter, and plenty of food on hand. The only dilemma I expect will be choosing between the tandems and the trusty old half-bikes.

    I guess that means that I really do think my bikes will save me and my family. Well, my bikes and the half-million plus miles I have ridden them.

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  • Carie July 23, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Jon, Oh my gosh!! That picture, that ride, my friend Jane,my baby (hard to believe she’s 8 now)!! We are getting ready to be brave for every disaster, for our family, our friends, our neighborhood, our Portland. I really hope others are thinking, planning, doing all they can to be prepared. Thanks for kicking us into gear to get ready!

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  • The Odd Duck July 24, 2015 at 12:32 am

    Here you really need to do. One gallon of water per person per day. Simple food to eat that you don’t need to cook. Can corn come to mind. A good flashlight remember your live might depend on it. A rallying point for your family member so you have a go to point. A basic first aid kit something to clean and bandage small wounds. This what you should have when the big one hits. BTW you might want to hang on to that older single low presser tire bike. There is going to be a lot of debris on the road and guess how long your 90 pound tires are going to last.

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