Coastal communities around the world face challenges related to both chronic (sea level rise/storms) as well as acute (earthquake/tsunami) hazards. Individuals, communities, and agencies can respond in ways to reduce the consequences of these hazards by either: (1) minimizing the initial impact (ex-ante), or (2) increasing the response/recovery following an event (ex-post). Recent studies [1] have shown that at a national level, an average of $6 can be saved for every $1 spent on ex-ante measures. When considering adaptation and mitigation measures, coastal communities must evaluate the social, economic, and ecological costs and benefits associated with each proposed strategy. Furthermore, adaptation and mitigation measures must address local concerns and diverse perspectives.

The state of Oregon is susceptible to sea level rise, coastal storms, and the rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone leading to an earthquake/tsunami. Limitations arise when defining adaptation and mitigation measures for these challenges, including (1) finite financial resources, (2) lack of capacity at local levels, (3) slow institutional channels to create changes in policy and regulations, and (4) misaligned prioritization of risk.

Goals and Objectives

While previous alternative coastal futures projects focused on single counties, the Oregon Coastal Futures (OCF) project aims to extend this work to a coastwide level. The goal of OCF is to examine the effect that adaptation and mitigation measures have on resilience metrics. Common metrics can be applied across various scales ranging from community, to county, to statewide, and can include social, ecological, and economic costs/benefits. Within this context, the research and outreach objectives are defined as:

    1. Identify and evaluate alternative strategies for chronic and acute coastal hazard mitigation to improve decision-making in Oregon.

    2. Understand and assess distributional consequences and social equity concerns of coastal adaptation and resilience decisions in Oregon.

    3. Harness the networked expertise of local, county, state, and federal officials, NGOs, and academic leaders to develop actionable knowledge that informs both coastwide and localized adaptation policies.

    4. Increase community literacy and capacity for adaptation by providing strategies that illustrates pathways to community-valued long term goals with realistic implementation timeframes.

Study Areas

The community resilience metrics defined by the Oregon Coastal Futures (OCF) project will be evaluated at multiple policy and climate scenarios at two scales:

    1. Oregon statewide study area (A)

    2. Three county detailed study area (B) of the northern Oregon coast including Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln counties


[1] Multihazard Mitigation Council, 2017. Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves 2017 Interim Report: An Independent Study. Principal Investigator Porter, K.; co-Principal Investigators Scawthorn, C.; Dash, N.; Santos, J.; Investigators: Eguchi, M., Ghosh., S., Huyck, C., Isteita, M., Mickey, K., Rashed, T.;P. Schneider, Director, MMC. National Institute of Building Sciences, Washington.

Fig.1. Map of (A) Approximate Oregon statewide and (B) three county detailed study areas.

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