Molalla, Canby managers reflect on an Icy weekend
Ice has melted, power is back up and the process of cleaning up and assessing things is in full swing in both the Canby and Molalla communities.
And according to Canby City Administrator Scott Archer and Molalla City Manager Dan Huff, both cities came through the frozen weekend successfully and with a minimum of damage.
I'm happy to report that, all things considered, the city of Canby is doing well," said Archer. "Our Canby Police and Public Works/Parks crews, in cooperation with our partners, the Canby Fire District and Canby Utility Board (CUB) staff, were incredible in our collective response on behalf of our Canby community.
"We all had crews working 24/7 over the last few days," he added. "Our police and fire staff were amazing and responsive for all things related to public safety. Public Works and parks teams kept the wastewater treatment plant operational with backup power and worked with CUB to help secure and clear access roads to power lines and substations and the municipal (drinking) water treatment site."
For Huff and Molalla, the story was much the same in Molalla.
"Right now we're just trying to put everything back together," said Huff. "We actually did benefit a little bit by having archaic radios for the police. It was kind of like those apocalyptic movies where they discover some old radio system that still works. Communication was very poor because there wasn't any.
"The biggest issues we have when something like this happens is that our wastewater and water plants need power to operate. We have large generators at both locations, and at city hall, but all those generators operate our systems, so we had continuous flow of water and were able to treat our sewage."
The issue, said Huff, is that when running generators that size, the amount of fuel is problematic. Huff said the city was running through 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel per day to keep the generators operational.
"It's diesel fuel, so you get a little concerned about being able to replenish it," said Huff. "It got a little precarious, but it was solved."
Both Huff and Archer lauded the efforts made by their public works crews during the weekend. With tree limbs coming down and new accumulations of ice occurring regularly, there was plenty to do.
"Our Canby Utility team did a stellar job of getting power restored in the city," said Archer. "It was well ahead of where other areas were with power outages."
Canby Mayor Brian Hodson declared a state of emergency over the weekend for the city of Canby. This ensures that, among other things, Canby will be eligible for FEMA or other disaster funding that may be made available in conjunction with Clackamas County and the state.
Huff noted that one of the benefits of the smaller town is that neighbors do a good job of checking on neighbors during something like this.
And, he said, they get out and take care of thing. Both communities heard the serenade of chainsaws in near continuous use over the weekend. Much of that was unsolicited help from unknown neighbors.
"Because our crews were really focused on the treatment plant and facilities and the ability to get to and from them to be operational, clearing road debris wasn't the focus in town," said Huff. "We can't say enough here in Molalla about the folks who came out of their homes and just did stuff. They had a chainsaw and just did it, cleared debris in the road or from someone's yard. You just can't say enough about that because if they were going to wait for a city crew to clear it, it was going to be a while."
"With the storm now behind us, our main task at hand in the days ahead will be cleanup around the city," said Archer. "Our Public Works and parks teams have already been out getting to this work. This is on top of many of our staff already having been out much of the weekend with our call-outs during the storm. Most immediately, we're removing limbs and trees that are life safety hazards in parks and our public right of way.
"Sadly, we've lost many of our mature trees in our parks and open spaces because of the storm."
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