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Peace Harbor receives $2.5 million for seismic upgrades

May 22, 2019



Anne Williams
PeaceHealth Oregon Media Relations

Florence, Ore. – PeaceHealth Peace Harbor Medical Center has received a $2.5 million grant from the state of Oregon to perform seismic upgrades necessary for the hospital to withstand a high-magnitude, Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

“The significance of this award cannot be overstated,” said Jason Hawkins, chief administrative officer at Peace Harbor. “When Peace Harbor was built in 1989, there wasn’t a widespread understanding of the likelihood of a catastrophic earthquake and its potential consequences. With these funds, we will be able to shore up every floor and wall in the hospital to ensure both the immediate safety of our patients, visitors and caregivers should an earthquake strike and the continued operation of the hospital in the aftermath of such a disaster.”

The grant was awarded through Business Oregon, the state of Oregon’s economic development agency. Of the 40 grant recipients, PeaceHealth Peace Harbor is the only hospital. This is the fifth round for the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, which targets both schools and first-responder buildings, including hospitals, 9-1-1 centers and fire and police stations.

Peace Harbor plans to begin the work in early July, with the goal of completion by July of 2021.

“Work will be done in every department within the hospital,” Hawkins said. “We will make sure the construction plan is designed in a way to minimize the impact on delivery of care. We expect to continue to offer our full range of medical services throughout the duration of the project.”

He added, “Any short-term inconveniences will be well worth it, given the critical need for these potentially life-saving upgrades.”

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a 600-mile fault line just off the Pacific coastline, extending from northern California to British Columbia. Oregon has the potential for a 9.0+ magnitude earthquake and a resulting tsunami of up to 100 feet in height.

Pat Kirby, director of facilities at Peace Harbor, said experts have determined that the hospital lies outside the tsunami zone, even under a worst-case scenario. “Our main focus is the stability of the building,” he said. “This hospital was built well before Oregon implemented new, much more stringent seismic building codes.”

The plan calls for retrofitting footings in 47 locations within the hospital and placing new wall anchors in more than 50 locations. The funds also will cover upgrades to mechanical, plumbing and electric systems.

Kirby and others from PeaceHealth have worked closely with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) over the last three years to assess PeaceHealth Peace Harbor’s vulnerabilities and build a resilience plan.

“I am so grateful to this dedicated team for their hard work and collaboration, and to Business Oregon for recognizing our need for the maximum grant award,” Hawkins said. “We can’t wait to begin this work.”

About PeaceHealth: PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. PeaceHealth has 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with more than 1,200 providers and 10 medical centers serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Northwest. In 1890, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace founded what has become PeaceHealth. The Sisters shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for healthcare in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of respect, stewardship, collaboration and social justice in fulfilling its Mission. Visit us online at