Loma Prieta Earthquake Stories

I was living in Scotts Valley and working at Plantronics on Encinal Street in Santa Cruz during that time. Usually I left work a few minutes before 5:00p but was having a discussion with some of my coworkers at my desk. At 5:04p, we all felt a jolt. Of course, we realized it was an earthquake, but living in earthquake country can make you complacent, and we all just waited for it to stop… but it didn’t. Four of us ended up under my desk. Our new financial executive who had just moved to the area with his wife from Oregon, was on the phone. He yelled, what should I do? We yelled back, get under your desk!

Things were crashing and swaying during the quake, and then it stopped. We all got up a bit dazed. I looked at my work area and all the books and folders in the shelf were strewn around the floor. Ceiling tiles were hanging down and we could hear alarms going off. We all went out the entrance and sat on the stairs to gather our wits.

My next memory was getting in my car to drive back to Scotts Valley. The bridge in Santa Cruz that crosses over the San Lorenzo River had dropped about 6-8”, so traffic was backed up on Cabrillo Hwy. Cars were slowly crossing the bridge 1 or 2 at a time. In hindsight, it should have been closed (eventually it was for retrofitting). When I finally got home, I saw the inside of our home, and everything (not one item was undisturbed) was on the ground. We never recovered, and ended up living in a trailer in the Santa Cruz mountains for about a year and a half.

I vowed I would leave California, and finally did eleven years later. I will never forget the Loma Prieta earthquake (and it irks me when the news media calls it the San Francisco earthquake). I empathize with people who have lived through a major earthquake.

Jo April 9, 2010

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The Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on October 17, 1989, is the most recent large earthquake to strike the San Francisco Bay Area. Many individuals and families have stories and memories related to this damaging earthquake. To help us preserve these precious stories and learn more about the earthquake, please share your story and memories with us.

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