Oregon youth prison lost power, heat during winter storm
While many Woodburn residents and surrounding communities waited for days — or continue to wait — for the return of electricity following the ice storm that blanketed the region on Feb. 12, nearby MacLaren Youth Correctional facility was able to return to operation relatively quickly.
Located on the north side of Woodburn off Highway 99E, MacLaren houses up to 271 youths from ages 12 to 24, and was left without power to heat its facilities and provide hot food for its population for two days before restoring limited power via its generator system on the evening on Feb. 14.
"We're grateful to our staff, who were present around the clock and throughout the long President's Day weekend, during and after the storm," Oregon Youth Authority Communications Director Benjamin Chambers said. "Throughout, they worked hard to ensure the youth were well cared-for and that facility operations continued throughout this prolonged weather event."
Chambers said the ice storm caused damage to other systems within MacLaren's operations and physical plant. Working with an electrical contractor, OYA work crews were able to repair internal power lines damaged by falling trees, limbs and branches and work with PGE to bring limited power to the facility via generator system less than two days after power initially went out.
In the interim, youth were provided with extra clothing and blankets inside their living units, while facility workers brought in hot meals once a day from outside. Youth were able to call family members via cell phones, according to the OYA's communications blog, insideoya.com.
Power was partially restored by 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 before full power was brought back to the facility the morning of Feb. 17. Visitations, which had been suspended in the aftermath of the storm, were scheduled to resume on Sunday.
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