April 08, 2001 11:00 pm

Prepare now for

future earthquake

The old saying goes, Failure to prepare means preparation to fail. Thats why its appropriate Oregon should prepare key buildings for the next big earthquake. Geologists say its not a question of if, but when.

Sen. Peter Courtney has been spearheading a drive to make Oregons hospitals, public schools, fire stations and other key buildings earthquake ready. Of course, the big hang-up is money. The measures approved by a Senate committee last week would ask voters for permission to sell bonds to pay for upgrades.

The initial survey alone is estimated to cost roughly $500,000. But this is a small investment to pay for public safety.

A real eye-opener, especially for the west side of Oregon, was the February earthquake. The quake, centered near Olympia, Wash., registered a hearty 6.8 on the Richter scale. Washingtons preparation paid off in minimizing lives lost and damage to critical buildings.

Oregon, in particular the northwest corner, had enough shaking in that same quake that citizens started to think about the importance of upgrading vital buildings such as hospitals. Courtneys measures are a humble beginning in doing just that.

We need to take steps now to make sure a big quake of the future doesnt bring Oregon to its knees. Its better to anticipate and prepare for The Big One than to say later, We shoulda done that.

Spring cleaning

Theres another saying perhaps not so old but heard frequently around Northeast Oregon lately: April snow showers freeze the flowers. Despite the false starts of spring, we are lucky in this region to have a long snow-free period and to have, occasionally, some near-perfect April days. The next time weather allows, look around your place and see what kind of spring cleaning projects might be appropriate. And long overdue.

A walk along La Grandes streets shows a lot of work already under way to beautify the area. But much work remains to be done. For now, there is trash to be picked up. Weeds to be attacked. Grass to be mowed. Old dead cars and other major junk to be hauled away.

Once it warms up, there are painting projects to tackle. Flowers and trees to plant. Roofs to


Spring cleaning offers equal opportunity for everybody, rich or poor. Each of us can take pride in not only our own place but our neighborhood. We can join neighborhood involvement programs. We can join block cleaning groups. We can be a reflection of what we make of our environment.

The bottom line is this: Its not enough to write lofty editorials about spring cleaning, or just idly talk about what we might do someday. We need to take action. This week. Now. Northeast Oregon is a beautiful area, a great place to raise a family. Lets each get some can-do spirit and help our neighborhoods sparkle.