Friday, October 12, 2007

Global Warming, Emergency Preparedness

Portland Community College's Cascade campus tends to be overlooked sometimes because Sylvania, the older, larger campus tends to hog the spotlight. However, Cascade is periodically the center for what should be high-profile events. For example, here are a couple of upcoming happenings at the campus. This is a press release from the school about the campus' key role in the upcoming emergency preparedness exercises taking place around the country, along with some background information:
FYI!

Oregon is one of three sites that will participate in a national TOPOFF (TOPOFF 4) exercise, beginning on Monday, October 15, and ending on Friday, October 19, "the largest and most ambitious exercise in emergency preparedness in U.S. history." In this exercise, Cascade Campus will serve as a backup command center in conjunction with Oregon's participation. Approximately 50 key emergency preparedness officials will be housed in the garage area of Cascade Campus' Public Services Education Building which will serve as a backup command center. The article below gives more details on TOPOFF 4.



Press Release

October 4, 2007

Governor Kulongoski and Mayor Potter Highlight Oregon's Participation in TOPOFF 4
TOPOFF 4 is the largest international emergency preparedness exercise in history

Salem - Today Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter announced that final preparations are under way in Portland for “TOPOFF 4,” the largest and most ambitious exercise in emergency preparedness in U.S. history.

“TOPOFF is a serious and comprehensive exercise designed to make sure that the health and safety of our citizens are protected in the event of a major emergency,” said Governor Kulongoski. “For Oregon, this exercise is not only about terrorism, but about preparing for any natural disaster or emergency and making sure that every level of government is ready to respond in a real crisis.”

Beginning on Monday, October 15, and ending on Friday, October 19, the exercise will simulate terrorist attacks in Portland, Phoenix, and the U.S. territory of Guam. The exercise is designed to test the rapid response and recovery systems of federal, state and local agencies.

TOPOFF 4, which is shorthand for “Top Officials,” was started in 1998 under President Clinton as a way for states to prepare for natural and man-made emergencies.

“This is a unique opportunity for Portland to prepare for any emergency,” Mayor Potter said. “Just as important, we’ll have the opportunity to practice working effectively with all our regional partners to ensure the safety of our community.”

More than 4,000 people in the Portland region—and nearly 15,000 people internationally—will simultaneously participate in the exercise. At least 25 state agencies, five counties, three tribes, 16 local jurisdictions and 36 private sector companies will also be engaged in the exercise.

In 2002-2003, Oregon submitted the application to participate in TOPOFF as a way to test the state’s emergency response system and prepare for a major emergency. On top of the state’s participation in this exercise, participants in Oregon also include the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and Columbia County. Washington County and Clackamas County in Oregon and Clark County in Washington State will also participate in the exercise.

“My goal is to use TOPOFF to learn about our strengths and weaknesses in our emergency response system,” said Governor Kulongoski. “We must be able to test our ability to coordinate, implement, integrate and communicate our plans throughout the exercise so we can ultimately save lives.”

Mayor Potter also stressed to citizens that their state and local governments are taking extra steps to protect lives, homes and businesses. “I want our citizens to know that if a major emergency happens in our community, we’ll be ready,” the Mayor said.

Portland area residents or other Oregonians interested in additional information during the TOPOFF 4 exercise are encouraged to call 1-800-SAFE-NET.

For Oregonians interested in volunteering with the TOPOFF 4 exercise visit: http://www.t4volunteers.com/

For more info on TOPOFF visit:
http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/docs/TOPOFF_FAQ.pdf

For a fact sheet an Oregon’s participation in TOPOFF 4 visit:
http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/docs/TOPOFF_FactSheet.pdf
Contact:
Patty Wentz, 503-378-6169

Kristina Edmunson, 503-378-5040

Rem Nivens, 503-378-6469


And if THAT wasn't enough, during turkey-recovery week we have:

Bill Bradbury, Oregon Secretary of State, at Cascade on November 26th from 3-5 pm
in the Moriarty Arts Building (corner of Albina and Killingsworth) in room 104 (auditorium), presents An Inconvenient Truth.
This presentation is free and open to public.
The Oregonian had a summer interview with our Secretary of State:

Global warming roadshow
Proud Al Gore 'lieutenant' Bill Bradbury spreads word in towns around Oregon

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

MICHAEL MILSTEIN

The Oregonian

The crowd of about 100 drains from the dark auditorium at the Portland Community College Sylvania campus near 9 p.m. But Oregon's secretary of state keeps going, making a critical point on what he considers the most vital issue of our time: global warming.

"There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves," says Bill Bradbury, quoting astronomer Carl Sagan as the screen behind him shows the Earth as a tiny blue dot in space.

His point, he says, is not that global warming is a problem. The point is: It's a crisis we have to deal with now.

This is the Bill Bradbury global warming road show, which Oregon's No. 2 elected official promises to give anywhere at least 50 people want to hear it. While Gov. Ted Kulongoski pushes global warming legislation in Salem, Bradbury motors his white Prius hybrid across the state telling Oregonians why it matters.

It's far from his elected duties of corporate legalese and state program audits, and he does it on his own time. But he sees it as one of the most important jobs he's had.

A blend of science and animation, the talk is modeled after former Vice President Al Gore's presentation on warming, the basis for the movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Bradbury, 57, proudly calls himself a Gore lieutenant, part of a global warming cavalry trained by Gore himself to speak to the grass roots of America.

He's given it to dairy farmers in Tillamook (incensing conservative radio host Lars Larson, who hails from there), at a church in Bend, high schools, a winery in Elkton (attracting roughly a quarter of the small town's population) and to a Newport crowd -- including one man who "just literally started screaming at me," he says.

He gave it to the Legislature on April 18.

He's repeated it 40 times in all, and he plans on many more.

He likes giving his talk to just about anyone. But he prefers doing it for people skeptical of global warming concerns, because that's where he can make the most difference. He especially wants to reach the Christian community.

"It's important to reach out beyond people who already think it's a problem," he says.

Though Bradbury has reached a few thousand people at most, he irritates conservative voices such as Larson, who suggests the global warming push is actually a stealth presidential campaign for Al Gore.

Larson last month tore into Bradbury, calling him a liar and accusing him of "spreading the Chicken Little word that the sky is falling and the glaciers are melting."

He called for a brigade to follow Bradbury around the state and challenge his claims, such as a suggestion that sea levels might rise 26 feet, inundating Tillamook and part of downtown Portland.

The 26-foot figure estimates how much oceans would rise if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed. It is a worst-case scenario, though some researchers say it's possible in coming centuries if melting continues to accelerate. A recent United Nations report did not include it in predictions of sea level rise because the risk of it happening, and the time frame, is difficult to assess.

Bradbury says he can count on two hands the number of global warming critics who have shown up at his talks so far. He figures that's because taking issue with Al Gore might get attention, but taking issue with the Oregon secretary of state probably won't.

That said, he doesn't understand what motivates opponents. There is legitimate debate over how much sea levels might rise or how fast glaciers will melt, he says. But science is clear that global warming is real and humans contribute by burning fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases.

"What is it that people really want to refute?" he asks. "I'm mystified . . . This is not just Al Gore scaring people. This is really scientific consensus."

Most Americans are convinced. More than 80 percent believe global warming is a serious problem, according to the latest Yale Environmental Poll. The question is what they are willing to do about it.

As PCC student Leslie Milam notes after Bradbury winds down: "It's hard to change a life when you're used to the one you have."

Up to the challenge

But as Bradbury noted when he faced poor odds running against Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate in 2002, challenges energize him.

"He really sees it as the capstone issue right now," says his daughter, Zoe Bradbury, 27, who grew up running rivers with her father and former Gov. John Kitzhaber, and now works at Ecotrust in Portland.

She has noticed the way he describes with reverence the first photograph of the entire Earth, fully illuminated, taken from the moon.

"He's almost at a point in his life when he can reflect and see the big picture," she says.

Though multiple sclerosis has Bradbury wheeling around in a motorized scooter and using a cane, he's an avid whitewater kayaker. He was closely involved in salmon policies when he served in the Legislature.

He says he has been concerned about global warming for several years but didn't consider it urgent until he saw Gore's movie last year.

He called Gore's chief of staff and said he'd like to help. Bradbury explained that he had once barnstormed the country explaining the Oregon Health Plan.

"I told him, 'I'd love to be a lieutenant. I'd love to help you present this.' "

Lectures in a barn

Gore had just started a program to train 1,000 people to give global warming talks and invited Bradbury to join the first group of 50 trainees last July in Tennessee.

"We were sort of the guinea pigs," he says. "They hadn't done the training before. They didn't know what to expect."

He was one of the few elected officials in the bunch, which included country singer Kathy Mattea and a former Miss America. They sat in the barn on Gore's farm and listened to the former vice president give the talk, and listened as he did it again, with a scientist answering questions.

Bradbury, tall and lanky, is captivated by the memory. He says Gore was excited, the vice president saying that he had long looked over his shoulder, wondering when the cavalry would come to help him spread the word on global warming.

"We were all thrilled to be the first wave of the cavalry," Bradbury says.

He went back to help train another group, including actress Cameron Diaz. Bradbury says he didn't know who she was. Others explained that she was, well, famous.

Speaking on global warming combines many of Bradbury's likes: environment, drama (an interest from high school), information (he was once a TV journalist) and people. It also puts him in closer touch with people, something he was used to in the Legislature.

"He really loves engaging the public, and in many ways his job now is less public than the elected positions he used to have," his daughter says.

Bradbury follows Gore closely, and is guilty of similar generalizations, such as suggesting global warming caused Hurricane Katrina. Although warmer seas and skies do energize hurricanes, no one can say global warming caused one specific storm.

He does caution that scientists cannot say conclusively that warming caused the "dead zones" that have appeared off Oregon's coast, even though they seem to match some of its symptoms.

He argues, like Kulongoski, that climate change offers opportunities for Oregon to promote wind, solar, wave and other renewable energy. Saving energy also saves money and makes us less dependent on foreign oil.

"We're the ones who are going to benefit rather than sending our money to Texas and Saudi Arabia," he says.

"There is so much to be done, the quicker we get on it, the less disruptive it is to deal with." He shows a list of things you can do to address global warming; turn down your thermostat, use compact fluorescent light bulbs.

"Is there anything on that list that's really hard?" he says. "I don't think so."

Michael Milstein: 503-294-7689; michaelmilstein@ news.oregonian.com


©2007 The Oregonian
So make plans to come back to school...and there won't even be a pop quiz afterward!
.

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