Scientists warn Oregon is lagging in disaster preparedness

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A last-minute change in legislative funding has scientists worried that Oregon will remain behind other West Coast states in preparing for deadly earthquakes and wildfires.

The state was prepared to earmark $12 million to expand ShakeAlert and AlertWildfire. The two warning systems were developed with help from the University of Oregon and can detect massive earthquakes and wildfires just as they start. But Oregon lawmakers quietly cut the proposed funding for the systems in the last days of the legislative session.

Scientists say the warning systems can give first responders an edge in responding to fires and could inform the public about a possible earthquake seconds to minutes before strong shaking starts.