PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Purposeful power outages continue throughout the state — including along the North Santiam Canyon where the historic 2020 wildfires tore through numerous towns.
At 12:30 p.m. Pacific Power shut off power to the North Santiam Canyon area — impacting 2,000 customers. Plus, the company is also monitoring other areas like Marion, Polk and Linn counties.
“Our meteorology team is watching this system very closely, and as winds continue to pick up, we will continue to perform the public safety power shutoffs as necessary,” said Drew Hanson of Pacific Power.
“We have a very granular line of sight into how this current system, as it’s moving in, could potentially impact our system. And that’s why it’s helping us to be able to pre-identify these areas of high risk to provide that advanced notification to our customers. And then, in addition, to stage the necessary resources to help see us through the other end of this.”
At the peak of this windstorm, Pacific Power anticipates that they will shut off power for nearly 13,000 customers.
Current storm system data says the winds will ease up Saturday morning. But as with any weather event, Pacific Power says that is subject to change. The company said they will continue to send notifications to let customers know when they can expect to have their power turned back on.
If you are in a potentially affected area and haven’t gotten these calls texts and emails from Pacific Power, Hanson recommends checking your account to make sure that your contact information is up to date so they can reach you in case of an emergency.
Residents in Lyons told KOIN 6 News they have been receiving the notifications from Pacific Power — warning them of the planned outages.
Times like these are tough for Ken Perine and Rachel Hand-Perine who have built their life in Lyons.
“I’m just terrified of having to go through all of this again,” Hand-Perine said. “The fires two years ago were really scary.”
They survived the devastating and deadly wildfires that ripped through the Santiam Canyon two years ago, but the painful memories still remain.
“I actually had a timeline for my Facebook picture come up and it said that I took a picture of my house and said, ‘this might be the last picture I ever have of my house,’ and the picture is just orange,” Hand-Perine said.
“We had fire within 200 yards of us. There was cinders in the yard and grass patches that were burnt,” Perine explained. “I had people asking me if they can pitch a tent in my backyard when they finally let us back in the area. So, that’s how rough it was.”
As they started to get word of the windstorm and purposeful power outages to prevent wildfires, they knew they had to prepare.
“We realized that we’re going to have to have a generator because of all the stuff that we need to keep on and what we’re trying to accomplish here,” Perine said.
Perine says they are lucky to have gotten one of the three generators available at the hardware store –setting them back $1,300.
“It was an investment, I look at now, just to make sure that we don’t lose thousands of dollars’ worth of food,” Perine said.
But they know most people throughout the Santiam Canyon won’t be able to keep their homes running.
“What are they going to do for three or four days when they can’t keep their refrigerator cold or take care of the things they need to take care of? And how many people are on life support systems up the hill?” Perine noted.
The Perine’s encourage everyone to watch out for one another.
“Give each other grace. It’s not that hard. Just care for each other, see what people need. Do they need food? Do they need water? Do they need a meal?” Hand-Perine said.