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Truck crash leads to overnight power outage in St. Helens

CRPUD: Power cut to about 1,500 customers during repairs

COURTESY OF COLUMBIA RIVER FIRE & RESCUE - Columbia River People's Utility District crews work on a power pole damaged after a truck crashed into it Tuesday night, June 30.About 1,500 customers of the Columbia River People's Utility District, which provides electricity to most residents of south Columbia County, lost power early Wednesday morning, July 1, after a large commercial truck crashed into an electrical pole on Old Portland Road in St. Helens.

PUD spokeswoman Libby Calnon said the pole that was struck Tuesday night had to be replaced, meaning power was cut to hundreds of households and businesses. Before the transmission and distribution lines were de-energized, crews worked to reroute power to as many of the estimated 4,100 customers served by the power pole as possible, she said.

“Once they de-energized the line, then they were able to bring in tow trucks to remove the truck from the pole. And then they had to replace the pole,” said Calnon.

The lines were de-energized at about 1:30 a.m., and power was fully restored at about 8:15 a.m., according to Calnon.

Crews had to dig a hole for the new pole, Calnon added. The rocky terrain in that part of the city poses a challenge to digging, and it is more complex to repair transmission lines than distribution lines, both of which the pole carried, she noted.

Columbia River Fire & Rescue responded to the crash and provided updates on the PUD's work on Facebook throughout the morning.