National Guard to aid in storm damage response for rural Oregonians

Clackamas County

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Members of the Oregon Army National Guard will aid in some of the damage response efforts in rural Oregon following one of the worst ice storms in decades.

Marion County officials said guard members may start helping as early as Monday morning.

“We look forward to having the women and men from the National Guard coming to assist our Search and Rescue teams with getting resources out into the community,” said Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast. “We’ll be working with Emergency Management to get them supplied with water, blankets, and other supplies our community members may need.”

Community members can expect National Guard service members to wear bright reflective vests to help with visibility.

Leaders in Clackamas County are also requesting Gov. Kate Brown to deploy National Guard members to aid in their storm response efforts.

Some residents have been without power for seven days. The goal is to get power back to 90% of powerless PGE customers by Friday night, but that still leaves at least 15,000 with power for several more days.

West Linn homeowner Sheri Sheng said she hasn’t had power for several days, and is dubious that she’ll get it back anytime soon.

“I am quite certain given our location, we are in the 10%. I just hope we’re not the final 1%,” she said.

Guard members would assist in door-to-door wellness checks for the thousands of residents still without power and water. The goal is to eventually expand outreach to several resource centers that would be used to distribute food and water.

Leaders said they also need help with delivering basic necessities to folks who are homebound.

“We are grateful the state has offered to help since the beginning of this historic storm,” Clackamas County Chair Tootie Smith said. “We have asked for support from guard members to provide wellness checks to allow us to reach every household. We are particularly concerned about our rural residents, making sure that those who are homebound are visited and the medically fragile and small children are taken care of. We need assistance from the state in order to make every effort to help residents without the basics to survive while we all get through this.”

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