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Oregon Plans To Spend Big On Earthquake Preparedness

Lawmakers are set to spend $300 million to prepare Oregon for the big one. It’s the largest chunk of change the state’s ever put towards seismic preparedness.

The funds are part of the state’s capital construction budget.

A portion of the money, $175 million, will go in grants to seismically upgrade schools. The rest will go to school districts that pass a bond to improve their facilities.

Ted Wolf was on the state’s school seismic safety task force and says the money will really boost earthquake preparedness. “And it will do much more. It will help modernize schools, it will help school districts rebuild schools that are old and obsolete," he said.

"It will help make safety technology and teaching improvements throughout schools in many different districts," said Wolf.

Lawmakers decided against earthquake-proofing the Capitol building.

Senate President Peter Courtney called it a loss, saying: “They’ve told us over and over that the Capitol is unstable and will collapse.”

<p>View of Portland from the Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon.</p>

View of Portland from the Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.