PGE says power could be restored by Saturday night
After shutting off power to about 30,000 residential and commercial customers in its service territory, Portland General Electric said Friday, Sept. 9, that it may be able to restore power as soon as Saturday night, Sept. 10.
Banks, Gaston, Portland's West Hills, and parts of the Mount Hood foothills and the Columbia River Gorge are among the places where at least some homes and businesses are dark as of Friday afternoon.
PGE has designated 10 areas where it will conduct what are called public safety power shutoffs (PSPS) at times when the risk of wildfires starting and spreading is especially high. The power was turned off Friday in all 10 of those areas plus two more rural swaths of PGE's territory.
"The safety of our customers, employees and community is always our top concern," PGE said in a statement provided Friday to Pamplin Media Group. "If extreme weather conditions threaten our ability to safely operate our electrical grid, such as with the high winds this weekend, we proactively turn off power …to help protect people, property and public places. By calling a PSPS, PGE is helping to reduce the potential risk of wildfire."
PGE cautioned in a news release Friday that power could be shut off in other parts of its service territory, too, "if there is need identified."
PGE expects the power to remain off in PSPS areas overnight and into Saturday, at least through Saturday afternoon.
"If the event duration is as anticipated and assuming there is no damage to our system, power restoration could begin as early as Saturday evening," the utility said in a news release Friday afternoon. "Damage to our equipment and/or system could create delays in restoration timing."
In the meantime, five "community resource centers" have been designated by PGE for people who are without power. They are:
• Estacada Baptist Church, 29101 S.E. Eagle Creek Road in Estacada
• Jim's Thriftway, 12350 N.W. Main St. in Banks
• Sheridan High School, 433 S. Bridge St. in Sheridan
• Silverton Safeway, 301 Westfield St. in Silverton
• Welches Elementary School, 24901 E. Salmon River Road in Welches
Water and ice is available at these community resource centers, along with free internet and outlets for charging electronic devices.
The centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., until power is restored, according to PGE.
Northwest Oregon is under a red flag warning, meaning weather conditions could contribute to fires starting and spreading quickly, through 11 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday, Sept. 11, is forecasted to bring slightly cooler temperatures and lighter winds. That cooling trend will continue into the week, with daytime high temperatures in Portland, Hillsboro and Salem expected to drop into the 70s.
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