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In One Ear: Higher ground

Quileute Tribe plans to move are materializing
By Elleda Wilson

The Daily Astorian

Published on November 24, 2017 12:01AM


The Quileute Tribe in the coastal fishing town of La Push, Washington, is taking action to protect themselves from the catastrophic tsunami that will ensue when the Cascadia Subduction Zone finally unlocks, causing a megathrust earthquake, the Northwest News Network reports (http://tinyurl.com/quilmove).

If your geography is a little rusty, La Push is on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula at the mouth of the Quillayute River, a scenario not unlike that of the North Coast residents living at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Logging and road building to move the town to much higher ground in a nearby forest — which literally took an act of Congress to “tweak” the boundaries of Olympic National Park — has already begun. The immediate goal is to move the children, so the K-12 school will be the first thing built at a safe 250-foot elevation. A photo of the current school, by Tom Banse/Northwest News Network, is shown.

Also being moved are the government offices and housing. But some facilities will stay on the coast, such as certain marine-related businesses, a restaurant, the U.S. Coast Guard station and the tribe’s Oceanside Resort. You can track the tribe’s progress at their “Move to Higher Ground” website at https://mthg.org

“The heart will stay in the lower village,” Susan Devine, project manager noted. “But the day-to-day functions, the safety of where the children are living and going to school, where people’s jobs are, they will move up to higher ground.”

Although the senior center will be the second building to be relocated, in hopes of encouraging the seniors to move, nobody will be forced to relocate. “The majority of people that are down here now are going to stay here because they don’t want to uproot,” village elder Beverly Loudon told NW News Network.

“They’ve been here for many, many generations,” she added, “so they probably won’t even care if they get washed away or whatever.” Likewise, she’s putting her faith in God, and staying put.



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