The freezing rain, snow, wind so far are linked to at least 13 deaths from hypothermia, fires, and falling trees. They’ve also caused widespread damage to homes, vehicles, and power lines, cutting off power to thousands. Firefighter and state representative Dacia Graber was among those in the dark and cold.
“I want everyone to think about the damage and destruction that we had from a week of snow. and cold temperatures and ice.”
She says the storm exposed the state’s vulnerabilities to emergencies.
“This spawns a much broader question about community resilience, about infrastructure reliability and how prepared we all are.”
And now she’s worried about what could happen in an even more extreme case.
“This is absolutely nothing compared to what it would be when we have that Cascadia megathrust earthquake.”
Graber is calling for the state legislature to hold hearings about the ice storm. She’s also introducing legislation to modernize emergency medical response. The lawmaker who represents parts of Multnomah and Washington Counties says, ” Oregon to make a very long story short, we have series of silos and really well intentioned providers and excellent on the ground providers. But the systems of care are a bit dysfunctional, and Oregon actually ranks 49th in a report card that was done on emergency medical care.”
She says she’s already done a lot of work with others on a plan to bring Oregon up to date.
“We have over 110 meetings on the books. We’ve got over 70 stakeholders. We’ve done multiple roundtables.”