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No estimates on when power, water services will return to normal after historic winter storm

PMG PHOTO: BRIAN MONIHAN - Sunset Avenue is closed off due to ice, downed trees and powerlines. Residents across West Linn braved the historic Presidents Day weekend storm without electricity and heat. Portland General Electric said it was the region's worst winter storm in 40 years.

Freezing rain and heavy winds throughout the city downed many trees and power lines. According to PGE, at least 11,000 customers in the West Linn area have been without power since Friday evening with no expected time for when it may return.

The city asked residents to use water only if necessary on Sunday as power was out at the water treatment plant and the water supply was running low.

With temperatures below freezing, many neighbors began checking on one another, sharing supplies and helping to clean up tree debris.

Throughout the night Friday and into Saturday, residents heard trees snapping and transformers blowing. Each blown transformer lit the sky with a blue-green glow, according to residents who witnessed the event.

"It's a mess but they're chipping away at it as quickly as they can," West Linn Police Department Public Information Officer Jeff Halverson said of PGE and city crews working to clear streets and restore power.

As of Sunday evening, more than 200,000 PGE customers throughout the metro area were still without power, but the power company said crews were coming from Montana and Nevada to reinforce PGE workers in the effort to restore power.

"Given the extreme situation, the repair effort may take several days before service can be restored to some customers, and some customers could experience multiple outages if weather deteriorates, and as trees and tree limbs succumb to additional weight of thawing ice," a PGE news release stated.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures were projected to warm Monday. However, PGE representative Elizabeth Lattanner said that melting can sometimes make branches heavier and thus more likely to fall.

She also asked customers to continue to avoid downed power lines and to prepare to go without electricity for the next few days.

PMG PHOTO: BRIAN MONIHAN - Willamette Falls Drive is seen closed due to icy conditions on Saturday, Feb. 13.


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