Sponsored by Forest Grove Economic Development
Home Back Issues Nov/Dec 2012 Cheaper quake solution

Cheaper quake solution

| Print |  Email
Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012

 

BY LINDA BAKER

1112 GamePlan CoreFirst
CoreFirst has developed a seismic retrofit system involving steel-constructed, cartridge-style "safe zones" that can be installed in existing school buildings and cost 75% less than a full retrofit.

By now most people in Oregon know about the dreaded Cascadia subduction zone, a seismically active region off the Pacific that will trigger a magnitude 8.0 or 9.0 earthquake — in 10 minutes or in 100 years. Many Oregonians also know that aging public school buildings are not expected to withstand the quake. But finding the money to upgrade or rebuild hundreds of schools is a daunting task, and even when money dribbles in, seismic upgrades are often phased in over years.

Ben Kaiser, the owner of PATH Architecture and Kaiser Group in Portland, says he has a solution. A principal at CoreFirst, launched eight months ago, Kaiser has designed a patent-pending seismic retrofit system involving steel-constructed, cartridge-style “safe zones” that he says can be installed in existing buildings and cost 75% less than a full seismic upgrade. It can also be installed in about three months. “It’s quicker, faster, cheaper,” Kaiser says.

Developed in conjunction with KPFF Consulting Engineers, the CoreFirst system is built off-site, and the cartridges are inserted through the roof of an existing school. The modules, which contain first-aid supplies, are located next to classrooms and would provide protection should the building collapse. Kaiser said the cartridges could also be used to teach kids about geology, engineering and architecture — much like schools incorporating green-building technologies to teach kids about energy efficiency and renewable energy.

To increase the likelihood kids would have enough time to enter the modules, CoreFirst has partnered with a California-based company that has developed a system to detect and warn people of an imminent earthquake with up to 40 seconds advance notice.

As for funding, Kaiser wants to tap money from the Portland Public Schools facilities bond if it passes this month. CoreFirst could also raise money from investors to fund and install the system, then have the district pay back investors over 20 years. The company is ready to move forward “immediately” once a school system “says yes,” Kaiser says.

Eventually, Kaiser aims to apply the CoreFirst technology up and down the West Coast and is working on licensing the idea to other builders. The technology could also be used in private buildings. For now, Kaiser, who has a 6-year-old daughter, says he is focusing his energy — and moral outrage — on retrofitting schools. “My God,” he says, “we’re sending our kids to these places every day.”

 

More Articles

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Who said we should sell in May?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, July 18, 2014
BullMarketBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Back in May, we shared a common Wall Street quote about investing, “Sell in May and go away.” Fast forward to July and the most common question we have been getting from clients is, “When is the market pullback going to occur?”


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...

Updated: Disrupting innovation

News
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
070814 thumb disputive-innovationBY LINDA BAKER  | OB EDITOR

The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation  — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment. 

Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.


Read more...

Trends in business succession

News
Thursday, July 03, 2014
TrendsBY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS

The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.


Read more...

Oversight? Or gaming the system?

News
Monday, July 14, 2014
AmazonBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS