The state of Oregon has announced a new round of taxpayer-funded grants to help schools and other public buildings better withstand a major earthquake.
The grant program is funded by state bonds. It was created just over a decade ago when lawmakers became convinced of the need to protect critical infrastructure as well as to protect lives of vulnerable people in the event of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
The grants have been handed out on an annual basis, and this year's batch is the largest since the program began. About $125 million will be divided among 55 school districts and two community colleges. Another $28 million will go to upgrade buildings that house emergency public services including hospitals, fire and police stations.
An advisory committee made up of education and emergency service communities decides how to distribute the money each year.
"Ensuring every community in the state, particularly in rural regions, has safe community gathering places and emergency response infrastructure will be key to Oregon's recovery from a significant seismic event," Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a statement.