City Club panel: Massive landslides like Oso possible in Oregon

City Club panel: Massive landslides like Oso possible in Oregon »Play Video
Types of landslides, from a fact sheet issued by the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

EUGENE, Ore. - Meghan O'Hara of Eugene deployed with the American Red Cross to Oso, Washington, just days after a landslide devastated the community.

"It happens so quickly. Within seconds, the mountain came down," she said. "That quickness of it, I don't think there is a way to prepare for that quickness of it. However what we can do is we can prepare for other types of disasters."

The City Club of Eugene on Friday held a panel discussion about geological hazards like the Oso landslide.

O'Hara said residents should make sure to know escape routes and to be sure to have enough, food, water and supplies to last several days.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries recently updated their online landslide database, which shows areas where landslides have occured in the past.

"Anyone can look up their address and see if they are in the path of - or on top of - somewhere close to a landslide that is known about," said Josh Roering, a professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Oregon.

Landslides aren't uncommon to the Eugene and Springfield area.

"There's giant ones that have come off the flakes of the Coburg Hills that are currently not moving," Roering said. "Those would have been rally catastrophic when they happened, but we haven't seen any signs that those are going to start going again anytime soon."

While the hills are stable for now, Roering said a major subduction earthquake could trigger several landslides.

"The vast majority of the people that live in this region won't be subject to that," he said, "but the ones that do, it will change their lives forever."