PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — While crews have been working nonstop to restore power across the region, thousands still remain powerless more than a week after a winter storm brought snow, ice and freezing rain in Oregon.
After restoring power to more than 14,000 customers on Saturday alone, PGE said 14,000 customers in seven counties remained without power as of 10 p.m. Monday. The company added that about 3,000 people will continue working “24/7” to restore power to the remaining customers.
Still, others may not have power again for another week, according to PGE.
PGE said it’s now on the final two phases of power restoration, but now the work ahead will be the hardest yet for crews.
“While we know that we have over 5,000 points of equipment damage to our system that still needs to be addressed, at this point, the repairs only bring back power to about ten customers at a time,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO.
West Linn resident Annette Goodman said the debris in her neighborhood is “pretty overwhelming.”
“I think it was part relief that it’s warm and the refrigerator works, and then just the reality of what’s the damage that’s been done and what it’s gonna take to kind of restore and revitalize the area,” she said.
West Linn Mayor Jules Walters estimated that there are 1,500 residents are still without power.
Marijuana producer Adam Teuscher said his cannabis business is on the “brink of disaster” after 11 days without electricity.
Teuscher, whose business is in unincorporated Canby, said his plants can only live so long without light and although he has a 7500-watt generator providing life support, it’s not enough to sustain things in the long term.
“It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow,” he said.
Community steps up to help those in need
Over the weekend, members of the Oregon Air National Guard stepped in to help deliver supplies to those without power in Clackamas County.
Guard members teamed up with Clackamas County leaders to deliver batteries, water, flashlights blankets and medical supplies to those still without power. They have also assisted some residents in getting water for their horses and livestock.
The National Guard has so far delivered supplies to more than 50 people.
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies performed 693 welfare checks on Sunday to ensure residents had all the supplies they needed.
In Molalla, volunteers set up a warming center over the weekend at the Church of the Nazarene on Shirley Street. Leota Childress, director of the warming center, said water and ready-made meals, as well as chili and cornbread, were available for anyone that came in. Battery chargers were also available at the center.
PGE crews work around the clock
PGE improved its website to offer customers a better idea of where crews are working and added a new online map for customers to get more information on estimated restoration times. Pope said the site now shows more accurate estimation times.
Officials said PGE employees are working around-the-clock. Now that all the substations are operating, PGE crews are going house to house and area by area restoring power to the thousands still waiting.
“It’s like pictures you see of hurricanes in the southeast, where the system is entirely blown down,” PGE’s Steve Corson said.
The Associated Press contributed to this post.