Poll: Which catastrophe will hit the Seattle area first?

Please vote in this poll using the sidebar.

Which catastrophe will hit the Seattle area first?

  • massive earthquake (61%, 65 Votes)
  • Mt. Rainier lahar (6%, 6 Votes)
  • tsunami (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Detroit-style economic meltdown (31%, 33 Votes)

Total Voters: 106

This poll will be active and displayed on the sidebar through 09.19.2009.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    The Tim says:

    There’s really no question of “if” on the first two, but rather “when.” The second two may never happen. I’m interested to see how people judge the risks.

  2. 2
    Boyflux says:

    I agree with The Tim on the first two. The third isn’t really within the realm of possiblility because of our location. If it did happen, it would be due to either #1 or #2. As for the economic meltdown, I can’t see it happening. The industries represented here are diversified enough that even if one collapsed, the others could likely fill the void with an appropriate amount of adjustment to the workforce.

    I honestly think that Boeing might leave, but I don’t see microsoft dying or going anywhere in the near future. If both went under or left, however, I could definitely see option #4 as being the model for what would happen here.

  3. 3
    Sniglet says:

    I believe that option 4 is not only the most likely, but highly probable. It’s not so much that I believe that Seattle’s industries are more vulnerable than those elsewhere, but rather that I believe that we are in the early stages of a global depression that will hurt most industries (across the world) in a very adverse way.

    Just watch how quickly staff gets shed from Boeing and Microsoft as business orders massively contract in the next couple years.

  4. 4
    Scotsman says:

    “In the U.S. and many other countries, the too-big-to-fail banks have become even bigger,” Stiglitz said in an interview today in Paris. “The problems are worse than they were in 2007 before the crisis.”

    There’s your answer- Meltdown, not just for Detroit, but for the entire country. If it was a “crisis” before, but is worse now, what should we call it?


  5. 5
    jon says:

    A major earthquake in the Seattle area is inevitable.


    Detroit was a great place to build thing with large amounts of steel and coal. Once the unions there priced themselves out of the market, they had nothing left.

    Seattle labor prices are unlikely to get as far out of whack, because both Boeing and Microsoft can outsource so easily. Meanwhile the high qualify labor pool makes it an attractive area for startups and other companies to grow here and thus diversify the local economy.

  6. 6
    Buford says:

    You guys are something else.
    Manufacture of doom and gloom.
    Good grief.

  7. 7
    Ray Pepper says:

    Whats up with this topic? Tone sounds too negative again…. Why not……………..

    What will arrive to Seattle first hereby holding up housing prices far better then the rest of the country? I find the first two places extremely valuable to my quality of life.

    In/Out Burger?

    El Pollo Loco?

    Massive Amusement Park financed by Disney and Bill Gates?

    Come on Tim…………………….!!

  8. 8
    b says:

    I hope El Pollo Loco. The fact there are no franchises up here is a travesty against man.

  9. 9
    TJ_98370 says:

    It’s not a choice on the catastrophe list, but I vote cable TV will get worse first, thusly destroying the intellelectual capacity of the public and destroying the social fabric of society. 157 channels and there is nothing on. Didn’t Bruce Springsteen do a tune on this subject?

  10. 10
    ray pepper says:

    RE: b @ 8

    Agreed. I’m a bit burnt out of In/Out Burger. A friend said to order it “monster style” and since then the thought of the burgers causes my colon to swell up. But, El Pollo Loco. Thats pure heaven. I also like Togo’s and recently found out there is one in Bellevue. That alone will hold up values in the 98005!

    I would also really like Boston Market to come back and Pietro’s Pizza. Just took my family to the one outside Portland and I still like that crunchy crust!

    Anybody here have deep enough pockets to get these franchises back??????

  11. 11
    Gene says:

    RE: Buford @ 6

    The topic is kind of doom and gloom, but the best way for handle any sort of “disaster” is to plan for it. The impacts of any sort of disruption in services can be greatly mitigated with planning and forethought. Discussion of the topic is the first step in that planning…


  12. 12
    mikal says:

    A bigger and more likely catastrophe would be that we might run out of beer. Or we could all get venereal diseases. What other silly things are there. A LAHAR!

  13. 13
    Acerun says:

    If they start building planes in Asia or Mexico I will vote for four.

    I am voting number two because that would be fun to watch on the WSDOT traffic cam website!

  14. 14

    Dr Roubini’s Bloggers Input in Part:

    “…Decade of No Income Gains

    For the first time since the great depression (and possibly even then), US wage earners suffered through A Decade With No Income Gains.

    The typical American household made less money last year than the typical household made a full decade ago.

    To me, that’s the big news from the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, which was released this morning. Median household fell to $50,303 last year, from $52,163 in 2007. In 1998, median income was $51,295. All these numbers are adjusted for inflation.

    In the four decades that the Census Bureau has been tracking household income, there has never before been a full decade in which median income failed to rise. (The previous record was seven years, ending in 1985.) Other Census data [Historical Income Tables] suggest that it also never happened between the late 1940s and the late 1960s. So it doesn’t seem to have happened since at least the 1930s.

    Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage

    Inquiring minds are digging into the Slide Show Presentation on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008

    Reply to this comment By Guest on 2009-09-14 08:40:51…”

    Looks like we can blame Clinton/Bush/Obama for the lost 10 years of wages.

    I’d add too that even MSM is now stating per Time’s front cover, Sep 21, 2009, that “…double digit unemployment may be here to stay…”

    I find Time magazine a refreshing neutral news source without all the “doncha know” “knee jerk” allegations with no historical reference or scientific common sense I hear from both sides of the extremist politcal parties’ views in America. Wishing for “jobs from nothing” won’t make it true.

  15. 15
    Acerun says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 14

    Hell yeah that is big news.

    What has declined in price in the ten years of no income days?
    Not autos or health insurance or Lattes.
    Maybe computers and big screen tv’s.

  16. 16
    Oswald says:

    Par for the course. Disaster, both economic and natural, gets these morons hard. Priceless.

    Way to jump the shark, Tim.

  17. 17
    Nathan says:

    RE: Acerun @ 15 – Not much may have declined in price, but your credit line sure went up!

  18. 18
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Who voted for tsunami? Don’t they know that a tsunami would immediately follow a massive earthquake? There’s no way it could be first. ;-)

  19. 19
    Acerun says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 17:

    Who voted for tsunami? Don’t they know that a tsunami would immediately follow a massive earthquake? There’s no way it could be first. ;-)

    Not necessarily true.
    There could be a significant geological event in say Hawaii that could create a tsunami here.


  20. 20
    Sniglet says:

    What has declined in price in the ten years of no income days?

    Prices are falling quite a bit these days. Price wars are raging in groceries (see article below), house prices are dropping, and many other things as well. I’ve mentioned before that the private school my brother teaches at is now providing financial aid to over 60% of the student body, up from less than 20% of students 2 years ago. This is a de-facto price reduction despite the fact their official tuition rate hasn’t changed. In fact, I see lots of this kind of stealth deflation taking place. Lays, for example, is now stuffing 20% more chips into Doritos bags, without raising the price.


  21. 21
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: Acerun @ 19 – Not in Puget Sound or Lake Washington. The question was “Seattle area.” I don’t consider Long Beach, WA to be the Seattle area. ;-)

  22. 22
    singliac says:

    RE: ray pepper @ 10 – hate to nit pick, but the correct term is “animal style.”

  23. 23
    laterite says:

    RE: Sniglet @ 20 – Much of the food in those examples is preprocessed garbage, FWIW. I don’t see prices falling at the same relative rate for perishable (read: healthy) items like fruits and vegetables. It’s still darn expensive to eat healthy in this country.

  24. 24
    Acerun says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 21:

    RE: Acerun @ 19 – Not in Puget Sound or Lake Washington. The question was “Seattle area.” I don’t consider Long Beach, WA to be the Seattle area. ;-)

    It is going to be a 900 foot wave!

    Cawabunga Dude!

  25. 25
  26. 26
    DDX12000 says:

    For fans of Pietros Pizza, and I was one (twas a sad day when the Port Orchard Pietros closed down), and of crispy thin crusts, try the Shakey’s out in Renton – they are a little cheaper than Round Table, but they have got the thin cracker crust down! Not a bad alternative to Pietros, imo.

  27. 27
    ray pepper says:

    RE: singliac @ 22

    U R Correct. I confirmed with my sources and indeed it is “animal style.” Either way it produces a serious Growler.

  28. 28
    Bird says:

    um, green river flood? pretty obvious, i think. how about a story on home values in the green river valley?

  29. 29
    B&W NIkes says:

    For the earthquake fans, we can expect epic displacements and near total destruction. So, when there is a megathrust earthquake it’s also likely that there will be a tsunami, followed by lahars, with a guaranteed economic meltdown to follow. All four can be had for the price of one! (blink, blink)

    …The geological record reveals that “great earthquakes” (those with moment magnitude 8 or higher) occur in the Cascadia subduction zone about every 500 years on average, often accompanied by tsunamis. There is evidence of at least 13 events at intervals from about 300 to 900 years with an average of 590 years. Previous earthquakes are estimated to have occurred in 1310 AD, 810 AD, 400 AD, 170 BC and 600 BC….

    …Recent findings conclude that the Cascadia Subduction zone is more volatile than previously suggested. The feared “big one” has many geologists predicting a 10 to 14 percent chance that the Cascadia Subduction will rupture in the next 50 years and is more likely to be a magnitude 9 or higher. Geologists have also determined the Pacific Northwest is not prepared for such a colossal quake. The tsunami produced will reach heights of 80 to 100 feet (24 to 30 m).



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