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Banks lost power around 1 p.m. Friday. Gaston and some other rural communities are also without power.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Brandy Jones  Manning charges her phone in Jim's Market parking lot.The lights went out in Banks, and Jim's Market was already out of big bags of ice.

As Portland General Electric shut down power lines to reduce wildfire risk amid excessive heat and strong winds — as of late Friday afternoon, some 30,000 customers in PGE's service territory are without power — residents of rural Washington County leaned on each other.

"I'm worried about some other people who maybe are alone or raising kids by themselves or people just in homes that are kind of isolated," shopper Melody Haselden said at Jim's Market, one of Banks' best-known businesses and a PGE-designated "community resource center" during the outage, while buying a few smaller bags of ice that were still available Friday afternoon.

Haselden added, "I'm concerned how long it will last. I think it's good they're being careful. Obviously we don't want any fires, but it is hard when you're not sure how long it will last."

The supermarket and other parts of Banks lost power around 1 p.m. Friday.

Portland General Electric spokesperson Sarah Hamaker said power could return for some customers as soon as Friday evening, while others might have to wait until Sunday, Sept. 11.{

PGE said in an official statement later Friday afternoon that it expects the intentional shutoffs to last at least through Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10. Power could be restored beginning that evening, according to the utility.

"We executed the public safety power shutoff beginning this morning and are kind of now just going through and navigating the risk to determine which portions need to be de-energized right now. We're taking steps to minimize customers affected. There are parts of Banks where we are working to restore power," Hamaker said Friday afternoon. "However, if you are in a predetermined public safety power shutoff zone or in another area that has been deemed high-risk, power will be out through tomorrow at this point."

The utility has a web page where customers can enter their phone number or account number to check the status of their power outage.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Banks residents shop Friday at Jim's Market during a power shutoff.

As of late Friday afternoon, the estimated restoration time for Jim's and the surrounding area was not available.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Banks residents shop Friday at Jim's Market during a power shutoff.

While she worked to dispel a Facebook rumor that the store was giving away free ice, manager Misty Maller said this isn't the supermarket's first rodeo.

"Way back in the day when Jim was alive before we had a generator, Jim used to follow people around with a flashlight and a pad of paper and write things down so they could pay later," Maller said. "Jim's Market will be here."

On Friday, Jim's was using a generator to power a few lights, refrigerators, the doors and cash registers, whose conveyor belts sat motionless. Mallert wasn't sure how long they could rely on the generator.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jim's Market used a generator to keep some lights on during the power shutoff.

A butcher cut meat by head lamp. Everything was for sale except for liquor, as those registers were down and state law prohibits selling the hard stuff at regular grocery store counters.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Banks residents shop Friday at Jim's Market during a power shutoff.

While schools were closed in Gaston and at a couple of the Forest Grove School District's rural campuses, the Banks School District taught through the power outage and dismissed at 3 p.m. like normal.

In Jim's parking lot, Portland General Electric contracted a company called Red Dawg to set up a trailer with ice, water, internet, outlets for charging, air conditioning, a printer and even a television.

The lone traffic light in town went out and became a four-way stop.

Down the road in Gaston, the rural fire department was using a generator at its Main Street station to set up a charging station, primarily for medical devices but also for cellphones.

"We don't have any traffic lights, so we don't have to worry about that," Gaston Rural Fire Department Battalion Chief Lorne Vaught said. "We do worry about the medically fragile during a time like this. So, if anybody needs help, please stop by."

Daytime high temperatures around western Washington County are expected to hover around 95 degrees Saturday, before falling into the 80s on Sunday, Sept. 11, and cooling further into the week.

Haselden has a pool, and she plans to take advantage of it.

"We're going swimming," she said.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Jim's Market used a generator to keep some lights on during the power shutoff.


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