Cascadia Lifelines Program


The Cascadia Lifelines Program conducts research that will allow Oregon’s lifeline providers to implement value- and cost-informed decisions to mitigate damage to Pacific Northwest infrastructure as the result of Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes.


Regular Members
Bonneville Power Administration
Northwest Natural Gas
Oregon Department of Transportation
Port of Portland
Portland General Electric

Associate Members
Eugene Water and Electric Board
Portland Water Bureau
Tualatin Valley Water District

Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center


Please contact Michael Olsen for more information on joining CLiP to promote resilience within Oregon.


Early methods to mitigate seismic risks in Oregon were developed for short-duration earthquakes typical of those experienced in California. The inevitable Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes are expected to last much longer, similar to those seen in Chile and Japan in recent years.

Oregon’s infrastructure was built long before the state’s seismic risk was fully understood. When a major earthquake occurs, aging infrastructure will pose major challenges to all lifeline providers, including transportation departments, electric and gas utilities, water and wastewater utilities, fuel providers, and ports. The state will suffer a debilitating loss of mobility due to the shutdown of major highways. Thousands of Oregonians will lose their lives. Estimates of what it will take to begin mitigating the seismic risk reach into the billions of dollars. Unfortunately, current economic conditions and competing priorities are such that most lifeline providers do not have the resources to address the issues.

In line with its mission as a land grant institution, Oregon State University initiated the Cascadia Lifelines Program to help organizations come together and pool limited resources. The program will enable providers to capitalize on Oregon State’s earthquake research expertise and find solutions that will improve critical infrastructure performance so it can withstand major earthquake events.

Interview with Scott Ashford

Oregon State Resilience Research

"The expected earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone is going to be the single largest natural disaster ever to face the United States."
Scott A. Ashford, Kearney Professor and Dean, College of Engineering


The Oregon Hazard Explorer for Lifelines Program is a web-GIS tool to aid engineers in acquiring most recent available seismic data and assessing earthquake hazards in Oregon. The simple and powerful user interface requires only internet access. Data can be queried by address or latitude and longitude.

Access OHELP



The webinar series is packed with a lot of valuable information related to resilience. Please see the current list of webinars and register for upcoming webinars by following the link below. You can also view recordings of prior webinars from the 2019-2020 Webinar series.

Access the Current 2020-2021 Webinar Series Access the 2019-2020 Webinar Series


"Through the Cascadia Lifelines Program and the commitment of our partners, we can build community resilience, and get our lifelines back up and running. Those lifelines are the key to saving lives, minimizing damage, and aiding in recovery of the region."
Scott A. Ashford, Kearney Professor and Dean, College of Engineering


Leading researchers in the College of Engineering are collaborating across multiple disciplines to address soil liquefaction, which can lead to failure of roads, bridges, buildings, and other critical structures, landslide prediction and mitigation, cost-effective improvements to existing infrastructure, evacuation routes, and tools to plan for hazards and anticipate risks. In conjunction with bright graduate students, undergraduate students, and post-doctoral scholars, OSU faculty conduct CLiP research projects. Read more about current (2019-2020) CLiP Research Projects.

Major research programs at OSU in CCE that participate in CLiP and resilience research include:

CLiP provided seed funding for a summer undergraduate research program (SURF), which paved the way to bring a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program to OSU called Engineer's Bounce Back. Read more about the Engineer's Bounce Back Undergraduate Research Program.



Oregon State University’s College of Engineering houses the largest near-shore experimental facility at an academic institution in the nation — the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory. In addition, the research facilities and laboratories available in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering are the type found at top engineering schools around the nation, and some of them are unique to only a select number of institutions around the country.

Major laboratories include:


Cascadia Resilience Short Course

This course provided engineering practitioners and related professionals with an in-depth understanding of hazards posed by the Cascadia Subduction Zone and identify effective solution technologies to build more resilient communities. Recordings and Materials are available to CLiP members.

July 14, 2016
Kearney Hall, Oregon State University

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Michael Olsen
Director, Cascadia Lifelines Program
College of Engineering Dean's Professor
Civil and Construction Engineering

Dan Cox
Associate Director, Cascadia Lifelines Program
Civil and Construction Engineering

Scott A. Ashford
Inaugural Director, Cascadia Lifelines Program Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering