Did Seattle earthquake recommendations ever get done?

by: Essex Porter Updated:

Seattle’s Pioneer Square after the Nisqually earthquake on Feb. 28, 2001. (AP Photo/Stevan Morgain)
Seattle’s Pioneer Square after the Nisqually earthquake on Feb. 28, 2001. (AP Photo/Stevan Morgain)

Quick Facts: 

  • 2005 earthquake planning report gave nine recommendations for Seattle.
  • Independent Seismic Commission was not created.
  • Only 31 percent of bridges have been retrofitted.
  • Some areas have good progress, seismologists report.

It’s been more than nine years since a major earthquake report issued nine priority recommendations to improve earthquake safety in Seattle.
 
But money and politics have kept the recommendations from being implemented fully. 
 
KIRO 7 found the recommendations in a June 2005 report titled “Scenario for a Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake on the Seattle Fault,” co-authored by the Washington State Emergency Management Division.  
 
The first recommendation was for an independent seismic commission to report to the governor, but instead a lower level subcommittee was created.
 
The committee recommended incentives to retrofit buildings, but the city of Seattle still has more than a 1,000 buildings with unreinforced masonry that can collapse onto the street in a quake.  
 
While the State Route 520 Bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct are being replaced because they are vulnerable to quakes, the State Department of Transportation said just 31 percent of the 913 bridges that need to be retrofitted have been done.
 
University of Washington seismologists report good progress on the recommendation to expand the Pacific Northwest Seismographic Network, but say much work still needs to be done before it can provide citizens with early warning of earthquakes.

Click here to read the full earthquake report and recommendations from 2005.

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