REDMOND, OR -- Oregon Congressman Greg Walden (R-Hood River) met with Redmond city leaders this week to discuss how the region is preparing for the predicted Cascadia earthquake. Mayor George Endicott has been vocal in his efforts to prepare his city, especially given predictions that the Redmond airport could be the only functioning commercial air center if a massive quake hits the state.
Walden tells KBND news he hopes to get FEMA better involved in local emergency management plans. "The moment that the earth shakes at the level they think it could, people are going to be calling my office saying, ‘help!’ We need to be ahead of that. A lot of work has been done locally and at the sate and federal levels, but it sounds like there are still some questions out there involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its relationship with the state and the community."
During Monday's roundtable discussion, Walden was also briefed on on the upcoming closure of Central Oregon’s only commercial airport. Roberts Field officials say the three-week shutdown in May will cost about $400,000 in lost revenue. But, Walden says he’s pleased with the two-years of planning leading up to the major runway-paving project.
"We’ll find out how important the airport is when it’s closed; but they have to do it, just the way the layout of the runways are. I’m sure they’ll do it in the most efficient, effective way possible, knowing the way Redmond operates the airport and has always operated. I’m sure they’d rather not close it, but this seems like the most efficient way in the long-term to get the runway in the shape it needs to be to continue to expand air service, which is vital to Central Oregon."
Listen to our conversation with Mayor George Endicott, discussing his visit with Walden, at our Podcast Page