SALEM, Ore. - The people in charge of preserving historical artifacts and documents in Oregon say the state is woefully unprepared in the event of a disaster. A recent survey found that just 15 percent of the state's archives, libraries and museums have a plan in place to deal with things like floodwaters or even bug infestations.

Kyle Jannson is with the Oregon Heritage Commission. He says preserving documents during a disaster is an investment that could pay off in the end.

"As people flee their homes, those floodwaters may be getting to a county courthouse which may, in its basement, have the record of their property deed," Jannson says. "And those floodwaters could damage or destroy the deed to the property that they've just evacuated."

The Heritage Commission is pulling together an advisory group of archivists and librarians to strategize ways to better prepare for disasters.

That group begins meeting next month.

On the Web:

Oregon Heritage Commission:

http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/HCD/OHC/

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network

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