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CEO Maria Pope summarizes power company's recovery efforts following historic ice storm

SCREENSHOT - ZOOM - Portland General Electric CEO Maria Pope addresses the Clackamas Board of County Commissioners. Portland General Electric Chief Executive Officer Maria Pope told Clackamas County leaders Thursday that the county was far and away the hardest hit by the ice storm earlier this month, knocking out power to more than 144,000 residents.

In her 45-minute update to the Board of County Commissioners on Feb. 25, Pope said around 500 Clackamas County residents were still without power, and those cases are posing a lot of complex challenges to PGE crews who have come from as far as Montana and California to assist PGE crews in getting power restored. Commissioners also heard from PGE Vice President Larry Bekkedahl about the adverse factors that caused the unprecedented number of outages and how PGE is beginning to reimagine some of the ways it delivers services, as well as how we coexist with the natural environment.

"Our goal is to be the leader in the industry for vegetation management, which includes more frequent trimming, targeted removal, and proactive wildfire and storm risk reduction," Bekkedahl said. "We have to think differently about how we approach vegetation management so the recovery effort on the back-end of this event is substantial."

Pope informed the board that PGE and its foundation will be providing a total of $225,000 to help communities with storm recovery, out of which approximately $75,000 will be dedicated specifically to Clackamas County.

"PGE is an outstanding community partner to Clackamas County and has proven that again today," said County Chair Tootie Smith. "They heard us and pledged not only to help our most vulnerable neighbors with services but to meet with us on a monthly basis to strengthen our response to future disruptive events and create better safeguards in our systems."

Pope also said that PGE will be aiming to help those hardest hit by COVID-19, wildfires and the winter storm through existing bill-assistance programs. For more information on assistance programs, call PGE customer service at 503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818, or visit PGE's website.

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