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Anchorage Assembly candidate Q&A: How did Anchorage do during the 7.0 earthquake?

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: March 7
  • Published March 7

The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage Assembly to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. For more questions and to see all the candidates’ answers, click here. For School Board candidate surveys, click here.

Q: How do you feel Anchorage performed in the recent 7.0 earthquake? What can the city government do, or what would you do on the Assembly, to improve seismic safety or emergency preparedness?

DISTRICT 2, SEAT A: CHUGIAK-EAGLE RIVER

Oliver Schiess

Overall, our city has responded very well to the 7.0 earthquake on Nov. 30. In the future, I would work to ensure that public buildings, particularly our schools, are built in order to sustain intensive seismic damage, such as with Eagle River Elementary and Gruening Middle schools which suffered severe infrastructural damage.

Crystal Kennedy

Many Chugiak/Eagle River families, hundreds of students, and several businesses are still affected. We’ve known for decades that our weaknesses were the bridges and a single highway out of Anchorage and this was the second event that highlighted our need for alternative transportation modes and routes. We can partner with DOT in taking that challenge seriously as solutions are researched and designed to better prepare for any emergency. Regardless, emergency preparedness starts at home.

DISTRICT 4, SEAT F: MIDTOWN

Ron Alleva

Over all I thought it went well except for the funding for repairs and rebuilding. Better estimates of damage needed to taken. Every citizen should have been sent STATE AND FEMA APPLICATIONS.

Christine Hill

I’m very impressed with how the state and local governments responded and brought us back to normalcy so quickly. In attending some workshops in the Municipality they have identified areas of improvement. I hope the changes they make will not have to be tested for 50 years to come.

Meg Zaletel

Anchorage did an amazing job. Information was provided quickly & effectively. No lives lost to an earthquake of a magnitude is a great achievement & testament to our building safety codes. Our roads were quickly repaired so residents could return to work. And many public school children responded quickly and appropriately to the event because of recent in-school earthquake training. We can always do more to increase emergency preparedness & we should.

DISTRICT 3, SEAT D: WEST ANCHORAGE

Kameron Perez-Verdia

Anchorage performed well responding to the earthquake. My primary concern are the many families that are dealing significant damage to their homes and neighborhood schools.

Liz Vazquez

DOT did great but needs improvement in addressing the housing damage.

Dustin Darden

Two kinds of people the ones that stay inside and ones that run outside. I run outside.

DISTRICT 5, SEAT H: EAST ANCHORAGE

Forrest Dunbar

The people of Anchorage did remarkably well. Our Muni Employees performed admirably, as did state, federal, & private partners. As Chair of the Assembly at the time, I called a special meeting to extend the Mayor’s emergency declaration. We later passed an ordinance to use emergency funds. There was a real sense of coming together. However, we know it could have been much worse had the quake been stronger. Worth highlighting: repairing the Port is crucial to improving our disaster preparedness.

DISTRICT 6, SEAT J: SOUTH ANCHORAGE, GIRDWOOD, TURNAGAIN ARM

John Weddleton

We did a great job. FEMA told us that they usually come to a city that is waiting for FEMA to patch things up. When they got to Anchorage, we were already well along with recovery. Our non-profits, churches, utilities, AKDOT and their contractors, and APD and AFD all moved quickly. We are evaluating the causes of building failures and may tweak our codes to deal with those. We may find that we are doing things that are unnecessary, too. This was a good test for a larger earthquake.

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