Nike Innovators: Innovation Inspiration: Developer Ben Kaiser

July, 2017

Hear from a Portland architect and developer who’s making an old material new again.
View PDF.

West Coast rollout of updated ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warning system

UC Berkeley News, April 11, 2017

“ShakeAlert is a prototype earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. Though still undergoing testing, ShakeAlert will eventually provide warnings via cellphone that ground shaking from a nearby earthquake will soon arrive, allowing time to drop, cover and hold on, as in this video dramatization.”
— View video here.

City of Beaverton issued construction permits today for the German International School

April 20, 2017

At least 20 Portland schools likely to fall apart in an earthquake

The Oregonian/OregonLive, July 06, 2016

“When these buildings fail, they tend to do so catastrophically.” Read the entire story here.

“FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Announces Steps to Increase Nation’s Resilience to Earthquakes”

The White House, February 02, 2016

“The Obama Administration remains committed to improving the resilience of our communities, States, and the Nation to important hazards, such as earthquakes.” Read the entire story here.

“Unshakable: Ben Kaiser holds his ground”

Oregon Business, by Brian Libby, September, 2015

“The $7.9 million Radiator is Portland’s first commercial building equipped with an earthquake early warning system.” Read the entire story here.

“Portland building will warn tenants of earthquake”

KGW News, September 21, 2015

“A Portland developer is making sure the tenants in one of his buildings know seconds, maybe even minutes before a quake hits.” Read the entire story here.

“An earthquake is going to hit L.A. Then what?”

CNN, August 28, 2015

“Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina reminded us that when it comes to natural disasters, you can prepare for the worst, but it’s also crucial to plan for the chaos that comes afterward.” Read the entire story here.

The Really Big One

The New Yorker, July 20, 2015

“An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.” Read the entire story here.

Oregon State earthquake, tsunami expert Chris Goldfinger: ‘It’s not hopeless’

The Oregonian, July 16, 2015

“Chris Goldfinger, an Oregon State University professor of geology and geophysics, is one of the world’s leading experts on the Cascadia subduction zone, the fault line that extends from northern California off Oregon and Washington to Vancouver Island, Canada.” Read the entire story here.

When an earthquake hits, this North Portland office building will get a heads up

The Oregonian, July 15, 2015

“Just after 6:25 a.m. on June 25, a sensor at a North Portland office building first detected a tiny tremor.” Read the entire story here.

Earthquake on the way? The Radiator building in North Portland will let you know about it

Portland Business Journal, May 15, 2015

The question of the Northwest’s next major earthquake is not an if, but a when.

When that day does come, folks working and dining in one unique Portland building might just get the early heads-up they need to get out safely. – Read the entire story here.

Oversight Hearing on “Advances in Earthquake Science: 50th Anniversary of the Great Alaskan Quake”


Thursday, March 27, 2014

“…the Cascadian subduction zone is locked and loaded”. View hearing video here.

Big Oregon quake would cost $30 billion

Earthquakes and Portland-area schools: New safety approach draws attention

November 1, 2012

By Betsy Hammond, The Oregonian A Portland architect and builder is getting attention for an economical way he proposes to make schools safe during an earthquake: Create safe zones that students would rush into just before or as a big quake begins. Read more here.

School bond campaign drives home point for supporters | Effort to reach voters focuses on inspiration, not traditional politics

Franklin High School’s cafeteria is a lunchroom monitor’s worst nightmare: the U-shaped design (oddly built around the brick-walled kitchen) makes it impossible to supervise all students at once. That’s just one of the challenges of the 1950s-era space that staff and students have been living with for decades. The cafeteria seats just 350 students, forcing the bulk of Franklin’s 1,500 students to take their lunch in the hallways. Read more here.

School board selects bond plan

June 26, 2012

The Portland School Board has selected a $482 million construction bond plan that would fund full modernization of three high schools and one PK-8 school, and needed upgrades at schools throughout the district. Board members chose the plan June 25, and now are seeking feedback on the plan at two public hearings:

  • 7 p.m., Thursday, June 28, at the Blanchard Education Service Center, 501 N. Dixon St.
  • 5 p.m., Monday, July 9, at the Blanchard Education Service Center, 501 N. Dixon St.

Following the July 9 hearing, board members are scheduled to adopt a final plan and decide whether to send it to voters in November. Read more here.

Why is PPS considering a school construction bond?

Nearly all PPS school buildings are aging and worn out. Roofs and pipes are leaking, electrical systems are inadequate for today’s technology, and earthquake resistance is far below current seismic safety standards. Schools also need more up-to-date classrooms— from science labs to media centers to smaller breakout spaces for effective teaching and learning.

A bond measure would allow the district to remedy building deficiencies and to modernize learning environments to support student achievement and prepare students to compete in the 21st century.

Read more here.

Community weighs in on possible bond

May 31, 2012

Most parents, teachers and community members who attended community meetings or took an online survey this month favor going out for a construction bond in November to upgrade PPS schools. More than 100 people attended three community meetings in May. More than 500 completed an online survey about possible bond packages. Upgraded high schools, and seismic safety and overall building condition, emerged as key priorities. PPS parents and community members share their opinions about a possible bond to modernize school buildings during a series of public meetings. “Our schools are essential to the strength of our community, and the decision to rebuild them must be shared and supported by the community,” says Chief Operating Officer C.J. Sylvester. “The insights and leadership from parents, teachers business leaders and community members over the past year, including the input this month, has been invaluable to shaping next steps for modernizing our schools.” Read the rest and see a video of the 5/24 meeting here.

PPS’s upcoming bond development

Portland Public Schools has appointed a Bond Development Committee to develop specific school modernization options (including seismic upgrade initiatives) so the community can provide input on different possible school construction alternatives. The options that the Bond Development Committee identifies will be based on the principles and proposals identified in the PPS long-range facilities plan, as formulated by a citizens advisory group. A series of community meetings will be held in May to gather citizen input and share news. The public meetings are scheduled for:

  • Tuesday, May 22, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. — Roosevelt High School cafeteria • 6941 North Central Street | Portland, OR 97203
  • Wednesday, May 23, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. — Madison High School cafeteria • 2735 NE 82nd | Portland, OR 97220
  • Thursday, May 24, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. — Lincoln High School cafeteria • 1600 SW Salmon St | Portland, OR 97205

Mayor Adams: Earthquakes – are you ready?

Dear Portlander, Do you know what to do in case of an earthquake? Most Portlanders don’t think about earthquakes, so we bring attention to this threat every April during Earthquake Preparedness Month in the city. This April, the City sponsored events and exercises to make the public more informed. We also put a focus on policy changes to help make the city safer. I even huddled under my council desk during an earthquake practice drill. Last year’s magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan was a tragic reminder that all Pacific Rim cities, including Portland, are at risk for such major events. The last catastrophic quake in Oregon was geologically similar to the one in Japan, striking off the West Coast in 1700. Scientists say it’s only a matter of time before the next big earthquake occurs. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) is working hard to help us become resilient to such a challenging, potentially destructive event. Read the rest of Mayor Adams’ letter here.

CoreFirst™ Introduces Seismic-Upgrade Retrofit System For Schools And Commercial Buildings

Design & Build With Metal, April 2013 Portland, OR – CoreFirst LLC announces the launch of a new, proprietary seismic-upgrade retrofit system that can be installed in schools and commercial buildings for a fraction of the cost of a full upgrade while providing all the same safety benefits, according to CoreFirst principal Ben Kaiser. — Read more

Seismic ‘sanctuaries’: a better safety solution?

The Daily Journal of Commerce (Oregon), February 15, 2013. By Reed Jackson After years of conducting seismic renovations for warehouses and schools in Portland, architect and developer Ben Kaiser reached a conclusion: There must be a better method. — Read more

Earthquakes and Portland-area schools: New safety approach draws attention

The Oregonian, November 1, 2012. By Betsy Hammond A Portland architect and builder is getting attention for an economical way he proposes to make schools safe during an earthquake: Create safe zones that students would rush into just before or as a big quake begins. — Read more

Cheaper quake solution

Oregon Business, November/December 2012. By Linda Baker 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. — Read more

NEW PRODUCT FLASH: CoreFirst Retrofit System by CoreFirst LLC

Today’s Facility Manager, September 11, 2012. By Anne Vasquez CoreFirst LLC has introduced a proprietary seismic upgrade retrofit system that can be installed in schools and commercial facilities. The system consists of modular, steel constructed, “cartridge” style safe zones that are installed into existing buildings to upgrade the ability of these structures to withstand a seismic event. — Read more