Water use restricted as crews work to restore power
Deschutes Valley Water District and the city of Madras are asking customers to back off on their watering.
Pacific Power expects power to be back on at the pump at Opal Springs.
District General Manager Joel Gehrett said Sunday, May 31, that the district has 8 million gallons of storage capacity remaining, and if the power is back on Monday afternoon as scheduled, "we should be in good condition to continue to supply the community."
The district plans to send out a notice to stop outdoor watering for the next 24 to 48 hours, Gehrett told a meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners held to deal with the aftermath of Saturday's storm.
He said the district has two to three days of storage remaining for indoor use and about a day and a half for outdoor use.
The city of Madras also gets water from the district. City Manager Gus Burril said the Public Works Department is readying backup wells and is talking with Warm Springs about how it handled getting drinking water to residents when the reservation was without water.
Pacific Power is working on several outages throughout Jefferson County in addition to Opal Springs. There are 1,451 customers without power in Culver without power, 519 in Metolius, 372 customers in Crooked River Ranch, 137 in Warm Springs, and a few scattered outages in Madras and other areas in the county.
Brad Wilson from Central Electric Cooperative had seven poles down, mostly in Madras.
"For us, everything in Jefferson County should be back up and running," he said.
Wilson also emphasized safety.
"Downed power lines are dangerous," he said. "If you see a downed power line, just call us ... There may be some damage with the infrastructure that we haven't come upon yet."
He said more damage could occur from weakened trees, fences and more in the next couple of days, so people should be cautious.
Culver City Recorder Donna McCormack said the city has extensive damage, but thanks to Pacific Power, the sewer pumps are working.
"Crews are working round the clock," she said.
Mayor Nancy Diaz said it has been a blessing seeing people work together to clean up.
"Yesterday and today, my husband, Hilario, and I have been out a lot going and helping out where we can," she said. "There is a lot of damage."
She asked if the Jefferson County Transfer Station could waive fees for people who need to dump debris.
"There are people now who are putting (branches) out in the street, and that's going to start impeding traffic," she said.
Commission President Kelly Simmelink said the county will work with the city to figure out what to do.
Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 Chief Brian Huff also suggested having fire district-sponsored burns, but said those could not be done until fall because the wood has to dry out.
Diaz also wondered if the city of Culver could borrow a street sweeper, and Madras Public Works Director Jeff Hurd said Madras could provide one as soon as Culver was ready for it.
The city of Madras and Jefferson County said Public Works crews from both jurisdictions are happy to help Culver and Metolius, which were hit much harder than Madras.
"I really appreciate this call and getting information and know that we're not alone and that we've got people that we can call on," Diaz said.
Huff said he had not seen a storm like this one.
"For several hours, we were running around on calls, nothing really major," he said. "For a few hours after that, we had guys just running around trying to help people."
"We're going to be out helping citizens," he continued. "We're obviously not a tree service, but we can do what we can do."
He also plans to use tenders for fire response and instructed crews not to practice with hydrants while the power is out at Opal Springs.
Todd Honeywell from Oregon State Parks said there was major damage at the Cove Palisades. The Crooked River side of the park had the worst damage, with trees down and damage to the docks.
"I think two out of the five dock systems broke the connection points to the land," he said. Five of six docks at the marina also had damage, and a few signs were down.
"People from around the community have jumped in and helped a lot, which is really nice since we basically have no money now," Honeywell said.
The campgrounds fared better, with a bit of cosmetic damage to a bathroom building. One pump house was also hit by a tree.
''There was quite a few rocks coming off of the canyon walls onto the road," he said. "We were able to push most of those off."
The county Public Works Department will be needed to break up one of the rocks, which park staff had to push off the road with a backhoe.
State Rep. Daniel Bonham praised county residents for working together and offered to help as well.
"To the extent that I can be helpful and share information, we've got social media that we can help spread the message that way," he said. "... I own a chainsaw, I've got a truck. I'm more than willing to come help."
He said his office would be willing to help with any "bureaucratic red tape" as well.
"Just utilize me in any way that's helpful," he said.
State Sen. Lynn Findley echoed Bonham's comments.
"You guys are doing an incredible job," he said. "There's a great team effort going on."
He said he was thankful that there were no injuries, "and you got through it in great shape." He said it was a testament to the people of Jefferson County that have stepped up.
Commissioner Wayne Fording said that the commission would move forward at its meeting Monday morning, which was scheduled to move the county toward Phase 2 of reopening.
"It's been outstanding to watch citizens helping each other," Simmelink said. "I just would like to say thank you to all the partners in this."
He said he wanted the county's cities to know "that we will be working side by side with you. If you see somebody in need, help them out."
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