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Nisqually Earthquake Was Not a Wake-Up Call

Unreinforced Masonry Buildings (URM) remain a major threat.

by Eric Holdeman / February 28, 2021

It was 20 years ago yesterday that the Nisqually Earthquake shook Western Washington. Yet we did not use the event as a clarion call to fix old unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings. A couple major bridge projects did get done and WADOT did ramp up their seismic retrofit program for other bridges. Yet, on the whole, governments have failed their citizens in protecting them from a known hazard that will kill and maim.

See this news story by CBS News KIRO TV here in Seattle: "20 years after quake, many older buildings are not reinforced."

As noted in the story, the 2020 pandemic put seismic retrofit on the back burner in Seattle. As for the other 18 years since the earthquake, URM has not been on the stove. My proof of that is a total lack of progress on the public safety issue. 

It will become important right after we are dragging dead bodies out of buildings. Action will be taken, too late for some. 

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