An estimated 140,000 customers in Portland metro area remained without power on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. While this is an improvement over the 300,000 — 30 percent — of Portlanders are without electricity as the ice-induced outages went from widespread to historically bad on Monday.
Despite the hard work of more than 2,500 power company workers, Portland Gas and Electric could not provide an estimate of when utilities would be restored. For some households and businesses, it was their fourth day without power.
Meanwhile, 50 miles south, another 60,000 in Marion County did not have power.
The storm began on Thursday night when temperatures dropped, and snow began to fall. By Sunday morning, nearly 18 inches blanketed the city, and statewide, hundreds of thousands of households were without power. The National Weather Service predicted an ice storm would strike the region for Monday night.
After the ice storm Monday, Portland saw a high of 40°F, and the snow began to melt. As the state began to dig out of the historic storm, repair crews continue to work hard to repair 21 transmission lines that were knocked out, and more than 6,000 downed power lines remained down as of the last report on Tuesday morning.
Damages from multiple ice and snowstorms were not limited to the electrical grid. Trees and powerlines were damaged, many of them downed, causing treacherous travel in the region. Dozens of streets were closed as a result. Major sections of I-84 were closed to traffic due to hazardous conditions.
Two businesses in the Portland metro area report their roofs had partially collapsed. The Cherry Creek Safeway in Troutdale and a Les Schwab tire store in Southeast Portland. Customers were inside the grocery store at the time, one person sustained minor injuries, and the cleaning crew escaped harm at Les Schwab.
The family of a missing Portland man is searching for answers after a vehicle lost control, hit an embankment, and careened off of the Glenn L. Jackson Memorial Bridge on Sunday night. The bridge on I-205 spans the Columbia River between Vancouver, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. Authorities still had not located the vehicle as of Tuesday night. The missing man’s family remains without an answer until it is recovered.
A household in Gladstone, a Portland suburb, suffered a great tragedy trying to keep warm after their power failed. Six people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning due to a gas-powered generator in an adjoining building. Four of them passed away, and two remain in critical condition.
The Oregon Department of Health and Human Services announced Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients whose food spoiled during the power outages or other storm damage might request replacement assistance. On Tuesday, the agency stated households that receive SNAP have 10 days from the date their food went bad to request help. For more information, check out the state’s website at oregon.gov/dhs/assistance/food-benefits/pages/replacement%20-benefits.aspx.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Oregonian: Hundreds of thousands without power in the Portland area as ice storm brings down trees, power lines; by Kale Williams
The Oregonian: More than 140,000 remain without power in Portland area as storm damage comes into sharper focus; by Kale Williams
Willamette Weekly: Last Night’s Ice Storm Caused the Largest Power Outage in Oregon History; by Shannon Gormley
KGW8: Search continues for a vehicle that went over Glenn Jackson Bridge guardrail on I-205
KGW8: 4 dead from carbon monoxide poisoning over the weekend in Clackamas County
Images Courtesy of Author