Regional Recovery Conference


The Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization (RDPO) is hosting a 2-day, invitation-only Regional Disaster Recovery Conference. The conference will take place February 12-13, 2019. It will provide attendees an opportunity to:

  • Learn about how other urban areas have recovered from a catastrophic disaster.

  • Learn how to address key issues such as equity and social justice during disaster recovery, and how to support vulnerable populations.

  • Provide feedback on how disaster recovery should be coordinated and implemented in the greater Portland Metropolitan Region.

Due to space limitations and the large number of organizations and agencies that will play a role in regional disaster recovery, attendance at this conference is by invitation only. To request an invitation, contact Laura Hanson at

Equity and social justice

An equitable post-disaster recovery means that every stakeholder gets a chance to participate and benefit from recovery processes. It acknowledges that inequities and vulnerabilities that exist before a disaster may be exacerbated after a disaster. It requires careful and deliberate planning that engages the whole community.

These issues of equity intersect and interconnect with each of the Recovery Support Functions, from rebuilding housing, transportation, and economic systems to restoring social connections, neighborhoods, and communities.

Case Study: Puerto Rico

Equity has been a critical focus of recovery from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and recovery from other recent disasters throughout the United States. Research has demonstrated that the effects of disasters, as well as the recovery process, has historically exacerbated the effects of social vulnerability and wealth inequality. 

Can we move towards an equitable recovery process? 

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm causing widespread devastation. Damage to the island included extensive flooding, extended blackout, and an island-wide infrastructure damage. Moreover, the storm has been estimated to have caused up to 2,975 deaths.

The Resilient Puerto Rico Advisory Commission (RPRAC) produced a report, ReImagina Puerto Rico, in which one of the guiding principles is “prioritize equity and inclusiveness.” The report lists 97 strategic recommendations in six sectors (housing, energy, physical infrastructure, health, education and social services, natural infrastructure, and economic development), which aim to provide concrete, actionable recommendations for the long-term recovery and reconstruction process. Many of these recommendations promote equitable recovery throughout the six sectors, including:

  • Housing – Provide technical capacity to implement a place-based and community-driven approach for identifying and planning reconstruction projects through collaborative and deliberative engagement.

  • Energy – Establish reliable and diversified backup energy systems for vulnerable individuals and critical facilities, such as hospitals, schools, and emergency shelters and services facilities.

Resources: Equity and Social Justice in Disaster Recovery