PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Pacific Power and Portland General Electric are considering shutting off power for thousands of customers Friday and Saturday during critical wildfire weather conditions

People in areas that could be affected by shutoffs should begin preparing now. 

Portland General Electric suggests people create a summer outage kit and make sure everyone in the household knows where to find it. 

The kit should include flashlights, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a clock or watch, battery-powered or hand-held fans, extra batteries. Car chargers for cell phones and electrical devices, bottled water for people and animals, frozen cold packs or plastic water bottles, and a list of emergency phone numbers. 

Multnomah County officials say people should also be prepared with enough food and water for themselves and their pets to last 72 hours. 

To keep food in a refrigerator or freezer cold, avoid opening doors as much as possible. Add bagged or block ice or move food to a cooler with ice. Medications that need to be refrigerated could also be kept in an ice chest. 

If a power shutoff does occur, Multnomah County will open two Community Resource Centers, which the county says will provide charging stations, ice, water and information.

Community Resource Center locations:

  • Corbett Fire Station at 36930 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy., Corbett, OR 97019
  • West Hills at Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue Station 72, 11646 N.W. Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR 97231.

Both locations will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday if power isn’t restored. All Multnomah County Libraries will also be open with their normal hours on Friday and Saturday.

Multnomah County libraries will be open during normal hours Friday and Saturday as well.

In a Thursday release, the county issued of a list of suggestions for residents in case of outages:

  • Keep cell phones charged. 
  • Prepare a power outage kit that includes:
  • A list of emergency contacts
  • Battery-operated light sources
  • Emergency medical supplies
  • Equipment/assistive devices with personal contact information
  • Ice packs and an ice chest to store medications
  • Fresh batteries and power banks 
  • Food and water supplies for up to 72 hours
  • Emergency kits for pets
  • Blankets and extra clothing
  • Extra money and any documents needed to secure Social Security and/or other regular benefits
  • Plan a backup location in case of extended outages
  • Have a transportation plan in case of evacuation

The Red Cross also has information online about how people can prepare for a power outage.

“The number one thing for people to think about is to be prepared,” said Dawn Johnson with American Red Cross. “You really wanna have the basic essentials to sustain you and your household members for 48 to 72 hours following a disaster.”

PGE says businesses should plan a manual alternative for work done on computers and cash registers, ensure their electronic door locks can be bypassed manually, make sure emergency lighting systems are working, and train employees to know what to do when the power goes out. 

Power outages can affect equipment and data. When the power goes out, people should locate and turn off power switches on non-critical equipment. Using surge protectors can help protect computers from power services. Backup programs and battery backup systems can help prevent data loss. 

Residents in Portland and the surrounding area should also prepare their homes for the high wildfire risk expected during the weekend. 

They should create a fire resistant zone and ensure there are no leaves, debris or flammable materials within 30 feet of their homes. Residents should know where a hose and water source are located outside their home. 

Pacific Power says about 12,000 customers in Linn, Douglas, Lincoln, Tillamook, Marion and Polk counties will face a power outage as a result of the winds, specifically in the following areas: Stayton east through the Santiam Canyon, Lebanon, Sweet Home, Lincoln City, and Glide east along the Umpqua Highway. 

Meanwhile, Portland General Electric says it is “likely” they will be shutting off power in 10 high-risk areas on Friday and Saturday — affecting approximately 30,000 customers. In a Wednesday press release, the company said it will only resort to this power shutoff if absolutely necessary.

PGE said these high-risk areas include: The West Hills, Tualatin Mountains, North West Hills, Central West Hills, Oregon City, Estacada, Mt. Hood Corridor/foothills, Columbia River Gorge, Scotts Mills and the Southern West Hills.

The Public Safety Power Shutoff Zone also includes downtown Portland, Southeast Portland, East Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Newberg, and part of Hillsboro. The map below shows the entire PSPS area. 

Potential PGE power shut-off zone
Portland General Electric said it’s likely it will shut down power to 10 high-risk areas on Friday, Sept. 9 and Saturday, Sept. 10 to help prevent a wildfire from starting. This map shows areas that could be affected by shut-offs. Map courtesy Portland General Electric

“Before PGE calls a PSPS, we make every effort to provide customers and community members with 24-48 hours of advance notice and another notice 1-4 hours in advance of when we need to de-energize an area,” Andrea Platt from PGE told KOIN 6 News. 

If power is shut off, PGE said it will work to restore it as quickly as possible. 

PGE said it will turn off power to help protect public safety if extreme weather conditions threaten its ability to safely operate the electrical grid. 

Clark Public Utility District said it has no immediate plans to de-energize any power lines, but says it is monitoring the situation and has crews patrolling the highest risk areas. 

Pacific Power said it will set up community resource centers in impacted communities.