Five Questions on Friday with EcoTech - Paris Group Realty, LLC Portland OR
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Five Questions on Friday with EcoTech

Exploring Earthquake Retrofitting with Don Francis from EcoTech

This week we learned more about earthquake retrofitting with Don Francis from EcoTech.

Question 1, Where are you from?

My family moved from New Jersey to Corvallis when I was 3 years old. We moved to NW Portland when I was 10. I graduated in 1977 from Metropolitan Learning Center (MLC), just down the street from my home. I knew there had to be a better place to live than where I grew up.  So in 1980, I began a 3 year career driving Green Tortoise buses.  Over the next few years and thousands and thousands of miles, I saw a lot of America and concluded that there was no better place to live than my home, Portland. I never left.

Question 2, What are you most proud of?

I have followed in the activist steps of my mother, who marched with Dr. King in Washington, DC in 1963 and continued on as a peace activist and homeless advocate also her parents, my grandfather was a conscientious objector to WWI and my grandmother was a suffragette. In the past, I was an Action Coordinator for Greenpeace, and a community organizer for Northwest Environmental Advocates and the Urban League of Portland.  In 1996, with the assistance of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., I started Willamette Riverkeeper, which I ran for 4 years.  Willamette Riverkeeper continues to advocate for the river I love.

Katy Brooks and I started EcoTech in 2003, dedicated to making our fellow community members safer one house at a time. Twelve years ago, Portlanders were not aware of the risk posed by radon.  Radon Risk Map 2014.  We changed that by speaking at neighborhood gatherings and real estate offices and by pitching stories to news media about radon testing and mitigation, which EcoTech provides.  Nearly 8 years ago, EcoTech began retrofitting houses with earthquake attachments to make homes safer during an earthquake.  Other services EcoTech provides include underground tank decommissioning, contaminated property cleanups, and asbestos testing.

At the end of every workday, the 25 employees at EcoTech go home knowing that their community members are safer than at the beginning of the day. I am especially proud of EcoTech’s staff and proud to provide a supportive and progressive work environment.

Question 3, What do you do in your spare time?

Outside, I love to travel, hike, bike and backpack! Inside, I like to hang out with my family and friends and read.

Question 4, What should we do to prepare for a Cascadia Subduction Zone mega quake?

  • Post-earthquake Portland will be challenging.  Proper preparation will be the difference between extreme physical, mental and financial trauma and short-term misery and financial viability. The short-list to be prepared includes:
  • Prepare to be largely self-sufficient for at least 2 weeks; store 1 gallon of water per day per person, adequate food and supplies – preferably not in your basement.   You will be camping for 2-4 weeks.
  • If your house is older than 1985, have your home attached to the foundation.
  • Purchase earthquake insurance for your home and, if applicable, for your rental houses. Insurance will help protect your equity and investments.
  • Have a plan – Who gets the kids? Where do you meet? Who is your out of area contact?

Question 5, How much does it cost to attach a house to the foundation?

The cost varies depending on a number of variables including the footprint size, number of floors, access to foundation, etc.  Most houses can be attached to the foundation for $2,500 – $4,500.

Have more questions or want professional advice on buying or selling a home?

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