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AWB Newsletter
Spring 2014
Editor: Catherine Paglin 
Asst. Editor: Lindsay Burnette
 Resilience Planning for the CSZ Earthquake

"Can we learn from similar events, or do we have to learn the hard way?" asked architect Jay Raskin, speaking of the deaths, damaged buildings, economic losses, and disruption of essential services expected in a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. At AWB's March meeting Raskin, vice chair of the state's seismic safety policy commission, described Oregon's current lack of resiliency in the face of this inevitable event, highlighting in particular the vulnerability of the state's liquid fuel supply. Raskin urged continued assessment of important buildings, systems, and services; establishment of a state resilience office; full funding of the state's grant program for upgrading schools and emergency facilities; and development of a rating system to encourage higher levels of seismic resiliency in buildings.

In This Issue

Volunteer Profile: 

John Medvec, Project Champion

This is the second in a series of interviews with AWB-Oregon volunteers. John Medvec, associate principal at Yost Grube Hall, worked on AWB's designs for seismically sound schools in Haiti, and is currently project champion for a similar effort in Nepal. The client for both projects is buildOn (, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Connecticut. Previously John volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and Architects in Schools. (This interview has been edited and condensed.)


Why do you choose to be involved with Architects Without Borders?

The focus of YGH has always been in developing nations. I've been to Vietnam, Pakistan, and many countries in Africa. AWB gives me an opportunity to volunteer my time in areas of the world where I've got a deep interest and often find myself going for another client.

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Construction Nears on Red Sweater Project Science Building  

When AWB-Oregon began working with Lake Oswego-based Red Sweater Project more than a year ago, the agreement was to produce a master plan for a 15-acre secondary school campus in rural Tanzania. As the project developed, however, the AWB team took on the design of new classroom buildings as well. 

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