Portland Earthquakes and Landslides

All of Portland, Oregon is at risk for earthquakes, which is why emergency preparedness and seismic retrofitting older homes (primarily bolting frames to foundations) is important.

Most of the landslide risk in Portland exists in the west hills, but there are a few other parts of the city that carry risk. We write articles on earthquake and landslide preparedness and provide updated maps to check for risks in your area.

Six Portland, Oregon Earthquake Maps

November 2, 2022

As with every city, Portland, Oregon doesn’t come without its hazards, one of which is the potential for earthquakes, given that our city rests on a fault line. But there are ways to deal with this particular hazard, including retrofitting your home and being prepared in the event an earthquake does happen. Another step in managing the certainty of an earthquake in Portland is to equip yourself with resources to keep you informed. Fortunately, science is making great strides in understanding seismic changes beneath the earth’s surface and finding ways to relay what they know to the layperson. Several helpful earthquake maps exist, and we’re including them in this article. Be sure to take a look at them before you...

Portland Seismic Retrofit Guide: 2021 Earthquake Readiness

April 7, 2021

Our awareness of the threat of seismic activity in the Portland area increases every year, and with it concerns for both sellers and buyers. Recent studies show that at least one local fault is more active than previously thought. And this discovery increases the likelihood that other faults in the area may put Portland at risk for an earthquake sooner rather than later. But the good news is, with increased knowledge comes increased ability to confront the situation. For example, it seems that each year, better and more comprehensive maps help us understand where the most vulnerable spots are. And then there’s seismic retrofitting, a process that makes homes better equipped to handle an earthquake. Portland is once again ahead...

portland earthquake map

Portland Earthquake Maps: 2020 Guide

February 24, 2020

Yes, there is a certain amount of earthquake risk in Portland, but the good news is that geologists are getting better and better at understanding, mapping and even predicting seismic activity. Maps can also help us be better prepared for disasters by showing were resources and hazards are. Take a look at these Portland maps before you buy a home.  The Top 5 Portland Earthquake Maps of 2020 1. Latest U.S. Earthquakes Map  (Click the header links to go to the earthquake maps.) For those fascinated by seismic activity, this live US Geological Survey map provides up-to-the-minute information about earthquakes happening around the globe. Earthquakes appear as dots on the map; the colors indicate how long ago they happened. The...

portland flood fire quake map

Portland Natural Disaster Map 2019 – Floods, Fires, Quakes, and Slides!

March 1, 2019

We here in the Pacific Northwest enjoy a relatively mild climate year-round — no polar vortexes, and just a few hot days in the summer. In Portland and the surrounding metro areas, most homeowners don’t worry too much about natural disaster, but there are some specific threats to be aware of. Knowing how and where disaster might strike is the best way to be prepared — and if you can avoid buying a home in a high-risk area, that doesn’t hurt either.  Wildfires. Despite Oregon’s reputation as a moist state, most of its landscapes are naturally dry, and fire is a necessary recurrence for these areas. The Willamette Valley (where Portland is located) and the coast are two exceptions. With...

landslides in portland

Portland Home Buyers’ Guide to Landslides

April 5, 2016

Portland, Oregon is one of the safest places to live in the country. We have a low crime rate, our air quality is great, and hurricanes and tornadoes are pretty much nonexistent. So what do we have to worry about? Slides. No, not kids in parks having too much fun, but landslides! When you combine hills — which Portland has a few of — and rain — which we get lots of — there’s a tendency for unstable land to shift and move downhill. Is that a turn-off for real estate buyers? It doesn’t appear to be, given Portland’s fast-paced housing market. Though landslides have occurred here since the pioneer days, geologists now know what causes them and how to...

portland preparing for earthquake

Earthquake Preparedness for Portland Home Buyers and Sellers

September 1, 2015

Home buyers and sellers in Portland let out a big “gulp” last month when they read the New Yorker article about “The Really Big One” or any of the follow-up stories in the local media. Those who study earthquakes are saying that there is a 30% chance of a magnitude 8.0–8.6 earthquake and a 10% chance of a magnitude 8.7–9.2 earthquake hitting Oregon in the next fifty years. To put it in perspective, the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, causing the meltdown of the Fukushima power plant, was a 9.0. The possible 8.7-9.2 earthquake that the New Yorker article was talking about will hit all along the Cascadia subduction zone fault line, which runs underneath the Cascade mountains –...