Fellow Oregon parents,
Our state is due for a megathrust earthquake and tsunami similar to that which devastated Japan on March 11, 2011. Leading scientists tell us this event has a very high probability of occurring within the next 50 years. It could happen at any moment. And yet, more than 1,000 public school buildings have a high or very high risk of collapse in a significant earthquake. More than 300,000 Oregon children are in danger. Every single school day, we are gambling with their lives.
Oregon's voters amended our Constitution to allow the state to borrow funds for investment in seismic retrofits back in 2002, based on a law pledging to bring all schools up to minimum seismic safety standards by 2032. But the retrofit program is vastly inadequate and has faced cuts and delays. Even schools designated "retrofitted" on their survey reports may not have earned their status: lack of funds may have left planned retrofits incomplete.
School is mandatory for children up to age 17. Tell our governor that you expect the state to provide our children with buildings that can endure an earthquake.
If you are an Oregon parent, or you have children who will attend/have attended school in Oregon, please sign our petition and forward it to your Oregon friends.
It is not too late to fix our schools. We can do it, even in tough economic times. Parents in other states and in British Columbia have faced similar obstacles and made progress on this issue. But we must band together. We must speak up for our children. We must do it now.
Tell the governor to expand Oregon's school retrofit program and make safe schools a priority for our children, without delay.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Amanda Gersh (Portland parent; co-founder, Oregon Parents for Quake-Resistant Schools)
Edward Wolf (Portland parent; co-founder, Oregon Parents for Quake-Resistant Schools)