RDPO Manager’s Message
2018 marked an important year of organizational, program, and visual maturation for the RDPO. We launched a new website and grew our staff from two to five (with a sixth coming in 2019) to meet new communication, administrative, grant and program management demands.
We also added several new project task forces and completed 50% of an organizational change process to develop a Community Resilience Work Group by mid-2019. Our strategic priority to advance equity in our program resulted in the Program Committee adding an equity advisor to its membership, which will be fully developed next year, including helping the RDPO better define what equity means and how we can manifest it in our work and organization.
As the year ended, the Program and Steering Committees voted in new leaders and our Policy Committee faced the challenge of an election year, with 6 of 14 active seats turning over.
Our program yielded several valuable outputs/outcomes, some of which raised our public profile and deepened our work as a platform for collaboration that helps increase the Portland Metropolitan Region’s disaster preparedness and resilience, including:
A high-profile earthquake impacts study. The RDPO funded and implemented the study on Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties, and the work was completed by the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI). The report was referenced by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) as an example of what needs to take place statewide in terms of having better planning data for a Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake. DOGAMI is presently completing the second phase of that RDPO project: an earthquake impacts update for Columbia and Clark Counties. By the end of the calendar year, we have a full regional picture.
A vital emergency fuel workshop and tabletop exercise. RDPO and Oregon Department of Energy held a 1-day panel presentation and discussion-based event in Portland to validate existing plans, identify gaps and regional planning opportunities, and stimulate additional emergency fuel planning for a Cascadia event. Nearly 100 participants attended from federal, state, and regional agencies, county and city departments/bureaus, and private sector companies. In future years, emergency fuel planning will continue at the county level.
Breakthrough materials and a website for disaster sanitation public education. The materials [available at emergencytoilet.org] are first of their kind in the U.S. They are based on an RDPO multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary technical task force’s efforts to provide technical guidance on what the public can do with human waste under a post-Cascadia scenario of compromised water and wastewater systems. That project is now in its second phase of development to provide additional behavioral guidance to the public.
Completion of regional recovery stakeholder engagement workshops. In February 2019, around 200 regional stakeholders from will participate in furthering the development of the Regional Recovery Planning Framework. In March, the RDPO will hold an initial recovery governance workshop to begin to explore options for developing a regional recovery governance model.
Creation of the Emergency Resource Request Management Handbook. This highly useful, regionally-developed resource provides guidance to governmental and nongovernmental organizations within the Portland Metropolitan Region on how to request resources in a major emergency and manage the emergency resource request process.
A stronger RDPO advocacy voice at the state level (in Oregon). This stronger voice is evidenced by the Steering Committee’s fall letter of support and feedback to OSSPAC on its Senate Bill 850 Mass Care Report, as well as a letter of support and feedback to Governor Kate Brown on Resiliency 2025: Improving Our Readiness for the Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami.
10,700 hours of EOC training. The REMTEC EOC Training Sub-Committee developed Operations and Planning Section courses and delivered pilot courses for both; sought regional alignment to the newly created FEMA EOC National Qualification System; and began a process to update the sub-committee’s SOP. They offered 75 courses, serving 1,646 participants and clocking in 10,700 contact hours. 25% of the courses were open to the region. They also conducted 13 exercises that totaled 4,600 hours.
These are a few examples of how the RDPO’s work reached a new level in 2018, implemented by our hard-working discipline work groups, task forces, contractors, and staff, under the guidance of our insightful committees. 2019 bodes to take us even farther in our efforts to meet the priorities, goals, and objectives in our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan.
Thanks to all who make the RDPO such a vibrant and high-impact organization.