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by Ted Cushman The Los Angeles earthquake of January 1994 is in the record books as the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history. Now, experts involved in evaluating the damage say much of the destruction to single-family and multifamily residences could have been prevented simply by the proper use of structural wood panels — plywood and oriented strand board (OSB). An American Plywood Association (APA) report on the quake says that some twoand three-story wood-frame buildings that did not have structural panel bracing in the exterior walls suffered severe damage in the quake. Los Angeles area engineer John Aldenado is busy these days with repair work on quake-damaged structures. "I'm speccing a lot of plywood," he said. "A lot of these buildings had nothing for sheathing but chicken wire