List Your Equipment  /  Dealer Login

Washington Tribe Constructs Tower to Avoid Tsunami Disaster

Tue October 18, 2022 - West Edition #22
Associated Press


Design engineer Cale Ash, who worked on the Tokeland tower for Degenkolb Engineers, said tsunami experts modeled the maximum wave height near the mouth of Willapa Bay as 16.3 ft. and said the design team rounded up to 20.2 ft. to be safe.
(Tom Banse photo)
Design engineer Cale Ash, who worked on the Tokeland tower for Degenkolb Engineers, said tsunami experts modeled the maximum wave height near the mouth of Willapa Bay as 16.3 ft. and said the design team rounded up to 20.2 ft. to be safe. (Tom Banse photo)

TOKELAND, Wash. (AP) There's a new option to escape a tsunami for people on the southwest coast of Washington.

The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe dedicated a 50-ft. tall (15.2 m) evacuation tower in Tokeland, Wash., the Northwest News Network reported.

Design engineer Cale Ash, who worked on the Tokeland tower for Degenkolb Engineers, said tsunami experts modeled the maximum wave height near the mouth of Willapa Bay as 16.3 ft. (4.9 m) and said the design team rounded up to 20.2 feet (6.1 meters) to be safe. He said the floor of the lower platform is 33 ft. (10 m) above the ground and the floor of the upper platform is 43 ft. (13.1 m) high.

Ash also said at the dedication that the tower rests on concrete pilings that go 55 ft. (16.7 m) deep to withstand violent shaking of the soft, sandy soils of the peninsula.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency provided $3.8 million toward the design and construction of the Tokeland tower. The Shoalwater Bay tribe contributed an additional $1.2 million to complete the budget.

When the next magnitude 9.0 rip of the offshore Cascadia fault zone happens, people on the Pacific Northwest coast will have some 15 to 35 minutes to get to high ground to escape a possible tsunami.

Tokeland is on a long, flat peninsula with no high ground within walking or running distance for many there.

Shoalwater tribal Council Member Lynn Clark said at the dedication ceremony that the tower will save lives. Tribal leaders and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it should be an example and inspiration for other vulnerable coastal communities.

The tribe's emergency management director, Ken Ufkin, said he can sleep better now that the sturdy, double-decker tsunami refuge tower exists. The tower stands close to the midpoint of the nearly 3-mi.-long (4.8-km) Tokeland Peninsula.

"This allows folks, even if it's 2:30 in the morning in your pajamas, to scoop up your family and make it here in a very short amount of time — in under a 15-minute window for nearly everyone from Tokeland Point to the heart of the reservation,"' Ufkin said.

The tower will be open to all in a disaster. The tower platforms have a capacity of more than 400 people, which is considerably more than the tribal population of the small Shoalwater Bay reservation.

The Tokeland evacuation tower resembles free-standing tsunami towers built in Japan, but officials said it's the first of its type in North America. Two other tsunami refuges on the Northwest coast — in Newport, Ore. and Westport, Wash. — are reinforced platforms on the roofs of a school or university building.

The most likely next place in the Northwest to build a tsunami evacuation tower is the town of Ocean Shores, Wash., which is working with Degenkolb on a design.

Some emergency planners have qualms about relying on vertical evacuation structures because it leaves a potentially large number of people in a disaster zone who will need to be rescued later.

Ufkin and others say, however, that reaching safety quickly by driving away is unlikely to be an option if a major earthquake buckles roads and topples power poles in low-lying places such as Tokeland — or in Ocean Shores and Long Beach, Wash. and parts of Seaside and Warrenton, Ore., for example too.

Geologists and emergency planners consider the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault among the most significant disaster threats in the U.S. The offshore fault last ruptured in January 1700, spawning a tsunami that reached all the way across the Pacific to Japan.




Today's top stories

Texas' $1.5B Project Meeting Benchmarks

Caltrans Crews Respond to Atmospheric River Storms

VIDEO: New Generation BOMAG BMP 8500 Multi-Purpose Compactor Delivers Quick Pairing, Secure Connection Radio Remote Control

Construction Associations Back State Challenge to Federal Rule that Diverts Infrastructure Resources From Vital Projects

TDOT Eyes 2026 Completion of Highway 127 Bridge

Bid-Well Returns to Its Roots at World of Concrete 2024

Even Construction Companies at Risk of Damage Caused By Deepfakes

Huntsville International Airport Receives $7M Federal Grant to Upgrade Its Terminal


 






aggregateequipmentguide-logo agriculturalequipmentguide-logo craneequipmentguide-logo forestryequipmentguide-logo truckandtrailerguide-logo
39.04690 \\ -77.49030 \\ Ashburn \\ PA