Earthquake Preparedness at PPS
Our Emergency Management program offers several resources to help families make a plan and prepare for emergency situations, like earthquakes. Please see below for some resources families can use to prepare and make a plan now:
- Parents Guide to Emergency Preparedness- Earthquake: This page offers information from the American Red Cross on how to prepare for Earthquakes.
- Family Plans and Preparedness Resources: This page offers links to make a plan with your family (with plan templates translated in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese). Also included are several preparedness resource links, resources for children, and resource links to help parents with trauma-informed communication.
- Earthquake Awareness and Preparedness: This page provides information for parents on ways that our schools prepare for earthquakes and what parents can expect following a seismic event with information related to student-to-family reunification.
Emergency preparedness starts with all of us. It is important we take time to make a plan with our families. For additional information and resources, please reach out to the PPS Emergency Management program.
Bond-Funded Seismic Improvements Since 2012
Since the seismic performance ratings were completed in 2012, PPS has passed three bond measures that have provided funds for a range of incremental and full seismic improvements. This work has been focused on school buildings that are on the City of Portland's list of Unreinforced Masonry (URM) buildings. While the presence of a building on the URM list is not a singular predictor of its performance in a seismic event, various code requirements and grant opportunities have been tied to a building's presence on the list. PPS has been using bonds, grants and other funds to bring its URM-listed buildings up to the current seismic code. Information on these projects can be found here (2012 Bond, 2017 Bond, and 2020 Bond).
PPS is currently working on a complete seismic re-assessment of all District schools, including cost estimates to bring buildings to current seismic code where needed. Additional information will be provided here when the assessment is complete.
Oregon Schools Seismic Status Report
SB 1566 (2012) amended ORS 329.105 to require all school districts and education service districts to notice the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries of any construction of new school buildings or modification of an existing school building in a manner that may affect the seismic risk category of a school. View status reports here.
Expected Performance Ratings
2012 Expected Seismic Performance (EPR) Ratings were compiled by James G. Pierson, Inc. Consulting Structural Engineers in spring 2012 and are modeled on the University of California at Berkeley classification system. These classified Portland Public School facilities, by campus, into general groupings to describe their expected performance in an earthquake, using Good, Fair, and Poor. Click here for 2012 Expected Seismic Performance Ratings. The ratings were used in 2012 bond development and planning as a general seismic guide for expected performance and prioritization. All Poor EPR schools in operation during bond planning were scheduled to receive seismic improvements as part of the 2012 school construction bond.
The performance rating system takes into account seismic risk score, previous seismic improvement work, the building class, age of construction, vertical and horizontal irregularities, building site, number of stories and any documented condition of the structural materials. It should be noted that school facilities are often a combination of additions and different building types that have been constructed over many years. Many schools have more than one building class/construction type.
Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP)
The Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP) is a state of Oregon competitive grant program that provides funding for the seismic rehabilitation of critical public buildings, particularly public schools and emergency services facilities. PPS has received (3) SRGP grant awards to date.
SRGP applications are evaluated and ranked on numerous factors, including: the Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA score), project readiness, seismic deficiencies, and scope of work. The maximum project award is $1.5 million and ASCE 41-13 evaluation method must be used to design to Life Safety performance level.
2009 PPS Seismic Study
In the summer of 2009, the District hired KPFF Consulting Engineers (KPFF) to conduct a seismic study of PPS school buildings. KPFF examined twelve school campuses as a representative sample of building construction types. Results were extrapolated across all schools. The conceptual designs were developed using ASCE 31-03 for evaluation and ASCE 41-06 for strengthening.
KPFF evaluated these representative buildings to:
- Identify seismic deficiencies.
- Develop preliminary rehabilitation options.
- Develop construction cost estimates for these options on a per-square-foot basis.
2009 Re-Roofing Projects
In 2009, PPS incorporated roof level seismic strengthening at eight schools as part of solar re-roofing projects.
2006 DOGAMI Statewide Needs Assessment
The 2006 Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) Statewide Seismic Needs Assessment was an important step to raise awareness of the statewide needs for seismically improving buildings and securing funding for the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (SRGP).
The assessment by DOGAMI was a "rapid visual screenings (RVS)," not a comprehensive structural assessment. The evaluation may not have captured all local steps taken in recent years to upgrade older facilities based upon seismic needs. To determine the true seismic safety of any given building, a much more detailed, site specific geotechnical and/or engineering survey is needed.
For more information, visit the DOGAMI FAQ page and in particular Question #7 "How do you define 'collapse' in this report?" and Question #10 "Is my child safe in a high risk school?"
2002 Comprehensive Seismic Studies
In 2001, the District hired James G. Pierson Consulting Structural engineers to perform a comprehensive study of the lateral upgrade status of the Portland Public Schools facilities. The report narratives describe the building, construction types, improvements completed to date and revised Hazard Index scores.
001 Board Policy
The PPS School Board adopted the Lateral Force Upgrade Policy to Govern Seismic Renovations to Existing Buildings on May 21, 2001. This policy specified collapse prevention and preserving routes of egress as the highest priority of seismic improvements.
1995 Capital School Construction Bond
At the start of the 1995 Capital Improvement Program (Bond) all schools were evaluated for resistance to lateral (seismic) forces in accordance with recognized national standards, FEMA 178. Numerical scores were computed to evaluate school buildings and quantify the risk associated with deficiencies found. These hazard scores were used as a basis for the decisions prioritizing the lateral improvements undertaken.
The 1995 Facilities Capital Improvements (Bond) Program included $47 million for seismic improvements. Seismic improvements were completed at 53 schools, two other facilities and as part of re-roofing at 15 schools.