Oregon City extends state of emergency from ice storm
Updates: 1. Debris drop-off site at Clackamas Community College now closed due to filling up. 2. City holds second meeting to waive permitting fees for reconnecting downed electrical wires.
Oregon City commissioners voted Feb. 16 to extend a state-of-emergency declaration for the city to address several thousands of residents without power as well as downed trees, damage to structures and other ice storm impacts.
Commission President Rocky Smith declared a state of emergency in Oregon City at 4:39 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, but according to municipal code, his declaration would have expired exactly two days later at 4:39 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, unless commissioners voted on a resolution to extend it.
On Saturday, commissioners held a second emergency meeting to waive $124 permitting fees that pay for an inspection of the connection point to make sure it is safe for PGE to connect to the home. Although most people regained power when PGE fixed main lines, downed trees severed some electrical lines between power poles and homes. Waiving the fees through March will cost the city an estimated $12,000 in lost revenue, and the city is reimbursing households for the 10 fees that were collected last week.
Crews were able to restore power to South Fork Water, but City Hall remained without power as commissioners approved the Tuesday resolution, according to City Manager Tony Konkol. Meals on Wheels continued to provide deliveries, prioritizing seniors who remained without power.
"For those of you who are out and about, please be extremely careful," Konkol said. "There are several hanging branches that we can't to get to at this point that are over sidewalks, over right-of-ways and in parks."
City officials said extending the declaration through March 18 allows for streamlined spending to address the emergency response. Oregon City plans to seek mutual aid agreements with other governmental authorities and reimbursement of its funds expended in responding to the emergency from federal, state and county resources. Gov. Kate Brown and county officials have also declared states of emergency due to the storm.
Much of the damage from the storm was tree-related. Oregon City crews are prioritizing cleanup of downed trees and limbs in public right-of-ways, starting with major arterials. City crews plan continued work throughout the next month on tree pruning, removal of broken limbs hanging in the street right-of-way and street sweeping in the impacted areas.
Commissioner Rachel Lyles Smith said "it's going to take a long time to recover" from the storm.
"It's shocking to drive around the community or walk around your neighborhood to see the amount of debris and trees that are down," Lyles Smith said.
City staff have created a temporary tree-hauling site for residents to discard tree debris. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Oregon City residents may drop off up to 5 cubic yards for free at Main Street and Agnes Avenue near the Clackamette Cove.
In order to drop off tree trimmings, branches, limbs, small stumps and other parts of shrubs, you must prove your residency within city limits by showing a current Oregon City water bill or valid driver's license.
Tree debris must be free of trash and rocks. Temporary drop-off sites will not accept landscape waste, large tree stumps, limbs larger than 12 inches in diameter, treated wood (telephone poles, railroad ties) demolition debris, rock concrete, hazardous waste or household garbage.
City officials are asking property owners and contractors to document trees in the right-of-way that have been removed from the Oregon City tree canopy due to the winter storm at orcity.org, where there will be continued updates for residents who have storm debris but don't have the means to transport it to the designated location.
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