Oregon State University is doubling down on efforts to build a new marine studies center in the tsunami zone.
The university wants to build a new $50 million research center in Newport.
It looked at three sites, two on high-ground and a third next to its existing buildings on sandy land just a few feet above high tide.
In a statement, school president Ed Ray said not only can the center be built to sustain a magnitude nine earthquake and the associated tsunami, it can serve as a safe zone where people can evacuate to the roof.
OSU professor Chris Goldfinger called the decision shortsighted, “It basically puts students at risk and it puts development at the coast and the interests of the university ahead of student’s lives,” he said.
Goldfinger said building to withstand a tsunami is extremely expensive and the building probably wouldn’t be functional afterwards.
The state legislature approved almost $25 million last year for the project.