Tsunami-vulnerable towns grapple with how to save lives - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tsunami-vulnerable towns grapple with how to save lives

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Seismologists say a catastrophe like the earthquake and tsunami that devastated communities in Japan in 2011 is inevitable in the Pacific Northwest, and could happen any time.


Coastal communities from Northern California to British Columbia have a number of projects in the works that are intended to protect lives during a similar disaster.


The projects include the nation's first structure built as a vertical tsunami refuge.


The tsunami refuge will be the roof of a gym of a new elementary school under construction in Westport, Washington, that is being built to withstand a strong earthquake.


The gym's roof will be 55 above sea level, above the tsunami surge projected by scientists.


Voters approved a $13.8 million bond to build the school, which will be completed next spring.

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