PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of thousands of customers are still without power in several counties throughout Oregon.
Freezing rain and ice-coated roads have ravaged power lines, roofs, cars, trees, businesses and everything in the region in a major winter storm that continues into Sunday.
The weight of the ice and snow caused one tree in a Salem neighborhood to completely snap and half.
“We actually had it looked at by an arborist last week, to make sure that the branches wouldn’t fall on our house and he said, no when this tree goes, it’ll probably split in half and that’s exactly what happened,” said resident Rita Walling.
Power outages began early Friday. As of 11:00 p.m. Sunday, Portland General Electric reported roughly 236,000 customers still experiencing outages. More than half of the customers are in Clackamas County, PGE officials said.
PGE officials say they have restored power back to 155,000 customers.
At least 4,000 power lines have been brought down by ice and tree limbs. Furthermore, multiple transmission lines across the area have been severely damaged.
Pacific Power reported 18,886 customers were powerless as of 11:00 p.m. Sunday. Clark Public Utilities reported 175 customers without power. Salem Electric reported 350 customers without power.
“We thank affected customers for their patience under these difficult conditions,” the agency said in a release Sunday. “Crews will continue to work around the clock, as quickly as safety allows, until everyone is back online. Given the extreme situation, the repair effort may take several days before service can be restored to all customers, and some customers could experience multiple outages as the weather continues to deteriorate.”
One of the biggest problems in getting power restored is icy roads delaying crews from getting to the damaged power lines, said PGE spokesperson Steven Corson.
Crews from across the state are in the Portland metro area helping to restore power. More crews from Montana and Nevada are expected to arrive Monday to help get everyone’s lights and heat back on.
“Our efforts to aggressively secure assistance will result in doubling our crew size since Saturday, to address 216 miles of damaged transmission lines, substation damage and 4,408 wire downs as we piece together the system that operates and distributes electricity,” PGE officials said in an emailed statement Sunday.
Salem resident Larry Castle said he’s been without power for two days.
“At our house we have no heat, no electricity, it’s pretty cold, we can’t cook anything,” he said.
Some folks are trapped in their own neighborhoods by toppled wires and debris.
“Oh my gosh, lots of trees down, no power … power lines down,” said resident Steven Prine. “We had to have PGE come to our house and cut the lines from our street so we could even leave our neighborhood.”
If your power goes out, PGE lists the following tips:
- Check surge protectors and all the GFCI outlets in your home to make sure they are working properly.
- Check your circuit breakers and reset any that may have tripped.
- If your entire home is without power or if other homes around you are without power, call PGE to report the outage, either by phone, online or the PGE app. You can also request to get updates and with our outage map, see which areas are being impacted by an outage.
As the winter weather continues more outages could take place. Be sure to take proper precautions and preparations for inclement weather.