News Roundup
6:26 am
Mon February 28, 2011

Monday morning's headlines

Making headlines around the Northwest this morning:

  • Tenth Anniversary of Nisqually Quake
  • Viaduct Issue Before Seattle City Council Today
  • Weekend Tacoma Train Derailment Cleared

 

Nisqually Quake Memories Still Fresh

But what lessons did we learn from the Feb. 28, 2001 quake that jangled our collective nerves? KPLU's Liam Moriarty gives an overview, including the breadth of upgrades to emergency systems, bridges and buildings. 

Following the quake, the number of seismic monitoring sites have tripled around the Sound, according to John Dodge of The Olympian, meant to help us prepare for the type of quakes that could cause devastation:

The 2001 earthquake – a 6.8-magnitude quake centered 32 miles beneath Anderson Island between Olympia and Tacoma – was not the “big one” that could tear the region apart. That kind of geologic upheaval – 5,000 times the force of the Nisqually earthquake – has occurred in the past and is expected to occur again.

The Seattle Times' Susan Gilmore reports on the revival of historic Pioneer Square buildings that have found new life after facades crumbled. 

Scientific research also got a boost, according to Bill Sheets of The Herald of Everett:

More extensive mapping of local quake faults has been done in the past decade, said John Vidale, a UW professor of earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, which coordinates monitoring of earthquakes and volcanic activity in Washington and Oregon.

Where were you when the quake hit? We're collecting your stories here, and on our Facebook page today.

 

Quake-rattled Viaduct Still in Political Shake

Then, of course, there's the debate over the replacement to the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle, a structure damaged in the 2001 quake, and deemed by everyone in need to being fixed.

 Today the Seattle City Council is expected to overwhelmingly override Mayor Mike McGinn's veto the city's agreement to move forward on viaduct replacement work, according to Publicola's Erica Barnett. Expect a vocal council meeting today, as people opposing the plan for a deep-bore tunnel to replace the elevated highway plan to attend.  

 

Lye Spill From Derailment Contained

Wreckage from a weekend train derailment along Puget Sound near Tacoma is now cleared from the tracks. A number of the cars carried toxic chemicals; one car spilled 50 gallons of lye. The News Tribune's Stacia Glenn reports environmental officials have assessed the damage, and tell them there's no public risk:

“We’re very fortunate that a (only) small amount of sodium hydroxide leaked onto the shoreline,” said Ron Holcomb, a hazardous-materials specialist with the state Department of Ecology. 

Four derailed cars each carried 15,000 gallons of lye, used as a cleanser, among other purposes. Burlington Northern Santa Fe officials tell the Trib complete track clean up could take up to three weeks. 

 

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