Oregon May Get Nation's First Tsunami-Resistant Building

Cannon Beach considers $4M city hall
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2011 6:28 PM CDT
Water flows around a small model building during a wave test at the Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory on the Oregon State campus.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – Maybe Japan's plight will make the cost easier to swallow: The Oregon city of Cannon Beach is kicking around the idea of building a new city hall that would have the distinction of being the nation's first tsunami-resistant building, reports Scientific American. Among other things, the design calls for concrete stilts that would elevate the building about 14 feet off the ground. But it comes with a $4 million price tag, about twice the estimate of normal construction.

Cannon Beach happens to be in a region that is "seismically" identical to the zone that triggered Japan's 9.0 quake and tsunami, and experts figure there's a 1 in 3 chance something similar will hit there in the next 50 years, explains SA. "It's coming sooner or later," says Harry Yeh, an engineer and tsunami expert at Oregon State University who is helping with the project. Many buildings in Japan stood up relatively well to the tsunami, and "there is a growing realization of how underprepared we are," he adds.

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