Few on Peninsula here feel big Canada quake

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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Few people on the North Olympic Peninsula felt Saturday night’s magnitude 7.7 earthquake centered off the Haida Gwaii archipelago of British Columbia.

A U.S. Geological Survey website included two “I felt it” reports from Port Townsend but none from other areas of Jefferson or Clallam counties.

Most reports of Washington residents feeling the quake — Canada’s biggest since 1949 — emanated from Seattle, Everett, Oak Harbor and points north.

The quake triggered a tsunami alert, later canceled, in Port Angeles, Neah Bay and LaPush.

A wave reached less than 5 inches in Port Angeles and LaPush, and 3 inches in Neah Bay, according to the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

No damage was reported at any of the three ports.

“We didn’t notice a thing,” said Chuck Faires, harbormaster at Boat Haven Marina in Port Angeles.

The Neah Bay harbormaster’s office reported that there was no known damage in the Makah Marina.

In LaPush, no one felt the earthquake, but the Quileute tribe was given reason to celebrate its recent “higher ground” potlatch.

Much of the Quileute reservation’s buildable land is located in a tsunami and flood zone, and in January, Congress approved expanding Quileute lands to higher elevations of property that was Olympic National Park.

In exchange, the Tribal Council guarantees public access through the reservation to national park beaches that are otherwise inaccessible.

“The lasting elation felt from the joy and success of our ‘Tsunami Protection Act’ celebration 48 hours earlier was quickly tempered by concern and fear for our Canadian, Alaskan and Hawaiian neighbors.

“We are relieved they were spared any destruction and devastation,” the Quileute Tribal Council said in a Sunday morning statement.

The statement said Quileute law enforcement contacted the state Emergency Management Division and were informed that the alert was called off for the Washington coast before reports of the earthquake reached news outlets.

“We’d like to acknowledge them for their quick response in investigating the situation and ensuring that our people were out of harm’s way,” the Tribal Council said.

“This event is a reminder that we are still in a very dangerous situation in the lower village, and we need to get the kids and elders out of there as quickly as humanly possible.”

Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 28. 2012 5:27PM
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