In this Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, photo, evidence of a Cascadia earthquake's awesome destructive power is visible at the beach in Neskowin, Ore. A "ghost forest" of Sitka spruces juts up from the beach in the tiny town. The trees were likely buried by tsunami debris 2,000 years earlier, and partially uncovered by storms in 1997. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

Critics: Oregon courts disaster with new tsunami-zone law

August 16, 2019 - 1:01 am

NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's recent repeal of a ban on construction of police stations, fire stations and schools in tsunami inundation zones has unleashed a torrent of criticism.

Researchers say it's only a matter of time before a shift in a major fault line off Oregon's coast causes a massive earthquake that generates a tsunami as much as seven stories tall.

One leading earthquake expert says lawmakers' decision to repeal a ban on new "critical facilities" in tsunami inundation zones sacrifices public safety for development. Oregon State University professor Chris Goldfinger says Oregon has gone from being a leader in tsunami preparedness to "full reverse."

The bill's sponsors say the ban created serious hardships for coastal homeowners and businesses, affecting their property values and their ability to get property insurance.