Lake Oswego sees damage, power outages from snowstorm
Downed trees and power lines have created a dangerous environment in Lake Oswego as ice thaws from the snowstorm that began late last Thursday.
"I've seen numerous vehicles hit with trees," said Jim Bateman, assistant public works director. "There's just been so many trees going down."
According to a press release sent by PGE Feb. 14, the storm over the weekend was the worst snow, ice and wind storm in the last 40 years.
As of Monday, Feb. 15, Portland General Electric reported power was restored to more than 262,000 customers. There are 2,500 PGE team members working to restore power to the remaining 288,000 PGE customers without power, though ice and trees continue to pose problems.
Bateman said crews in Lake Oswego are working to clear roads for emergency and utility vehicles.
"We just don't have enough staff to completely clear the roadway at this moment," said Bateman, adding that the packed snow and ice has made it difficult for snowplows, though it has started to thaw.
Lake Oswego Fire Marshal Gert Zoutendijk said he is unsure about the extent of the damage throughout the city but noted there was damage to homes, businesses and vehicles.
"A lot of roads are blocked still by trees. We're trying to get to them as quickly as possible. Public works is working really hard at doing that," Zoutendijk said. "We had a few trees that actually ended up landing on homes or going into homes."
Storm damage also reported by residents included broken pipes, sprinkler systems and an increase in carbon monoxide incidents.
Zoutendijk said snow and ice have built up on the generators, which caused the exhaust to enter the homes and prompted carbon monoxide issues.
"Fortunately the ones that we have heard about and we've responded on have been due to carbon monoxide alarms — so the alarms are definitely working," Zoutendijk said.
Crews and contractors are also cutting downed trees and making sure generators are fueled and city facilities remain operating.
Bateman said it's been a challenge to keep the water infrastructure working properly, but all stations are fully functioning.
"It's been a team effort without a doubt," he said.
The city reminds people to use caution if outdoor travel is necessary, as ice chunks are melting and falling. For folks without electricity, Anthony Hooper, public works director, said to refrain from using camp stoves indoors and leaving candles unattended. Hooper said before using a fireplace, check to see if the chimney is clear and in good repair. He also encourages people to check on neighbors and be careful with water use.
"There are numerous power lines down. They may be dead right now but with PGE trying to get things working and fired up, just be extremely careful with downed lines," Bateman said. "Crews are working hard to try to get things cleaned up as fast as we can."
Fire burns home to the ground
A fire completely devastated a home on Aventine Avenue in the Dunthorpe area — a fire district Lake Oswego Fire Department contracts with — just before 9:30 a.m. Monday morning.
"The house is completely gone," Zoutendijk said.
Portland Fire & Rescue responded to the incident, Zoutendijk added, because LOFD was blocked due to downed trees, power lines and stranded cars.
"We were unable to get anywhere close," he said.
Zoutendijk said no injuries were reported and the cause is currently unknown.
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