Study: Portland faces widespread destruction in big quake

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new study says the Portland metropolitan area faces mass casualties and billions of dollars in building damages if a large Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake hits off the West Coast.

The report released Thursday by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries says as many as 27,000 people could be hurt or killed in a magnitude 9.0 quake, though many injuries would be minor. The study estimates up to 85,000 people would need shelter and building damages could top $30 billion.

Lead investigator John Bauer says the study employs updated building and population statistics along with the latest mapping and modeling techniques. The region had been relying on estimates from 20 years ago.

The report says damage could be even greater if the Portland Hills Fault has a quake. The low-activity fault runs beneath a large section of Portland.