Clatsop County is still working on making sure residents and visitors know where to go in a tsunami.
“We were really aware as people started surveying the routes that the signage wasn’t sufficient, if only for people who aren’t familiar with the area,” Clatsop County Emergency Manager Tiffany Brown said.
The Emergency Management Division is in the last phase of the Tsunami Wayfinding Project, a three-phase effort to create evacuation routes to guide people to higher ground after a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami.
In the first phase, the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries helped communities develop maps and brochures with evacuation routes and installed some signs.
In the second, the five cities in the county, unincorporated areas and military bases were convened by the department to create evacuation routes. They identified where to put the “You are here” and temporary assembly signs.
Now, the county is going to work with the same groups to clearly define the evacuation routes by determining where more signs need to be added.
Brown is submitting a request for proposals this week to hire a consultant, gather data and help the county organize the information.
After they figure out where the new signs need to be placed, they are going to catalog where all the signs are to make maintenance easier moving forward.
The catalog will also help the county identify and replace stolen signs, which have become a problem.
“Seaside has known for a while that people steal those signs,” Brown said. “So, in addition to that problem, we can’t even speak to how extensive it is because we don’t have a clear record of how many and what types of signs comprehensively have ever been installed.”
Once the location of each sign is recorded, Brown said they will be able to keep track of what signs go missing.
Brown is looking forward to finishing the project this fall, she said. Once the wayfinding system is organized, it will be easier and less time-consuming to maintain.
“We’ll be able to start worrying about other things,” she said.