Power goes out as storm hits the region


There was much sound and fury, but thankfully not extensive damage from the rainstorm that struck Lake Oswego and West Linn on Sunday night.

At its peak, the storm caused power outages for 9,000 people in Lake Oswego and West Linn, according to PGE spokesman Ariana White. In all, 65,000 people lost electrical service in the PGE service area.

'It hit fast and furious,' said Larry Goff, emergency management director for the city of Lake Oswego. 'Between 11 p.m. and midnight we had a lot of calls about trees and wires.

'Luckily, it was of short duration. It came as quickly as it went. Which was fine for us.'

Despite the brevity of the storm, there were some hard-hit areas in which electricity was lost for lengthy periods, and power outages causes two area schools to shut down Monday, Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego and Stafford Primary School on Stafford Road near Wanker's Corner.

In Lake Oswego, the site of the most damage was on Stafford Road, between Patton and Bergis roads, where large fallen trees downed power lines and blocked the roadway.

About 500 people who live near Legacy Meridian Park in Tualatin lost their power for several hours, according to PGE's Mark Fryburg, and there was extensive pole damage.

Power was restored in a relatively brief time thanks to fast response by Lake Oswego and PGE crews. Even at the worst-hit areas, power was restored before noon on Monday. White said that Stafford Road was cleared by 9:15 a.m. Monday.

'We were able to get our crews up to full strength quickly during the worst period, between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.,' Fryburg said. 'We got 300 people in the field and they worked right through the night to restore power.'

Goff said, 'As soon as our crews got to Stafford they realized it needed to be closed (around 11:30 p.m. on Sunday), so barricades were set up.'

Lake Oswego was also able to avoid major traffic problems on Stafford Road. Josh Thomas, citizen information coordinator for the city of Lake Oswego, said he was notified of the trouble on Stafford Road at 5 a.m. on Monday and in 15 minutes he was sending out bulletins that the road would be closed for repair crews. Most morning commute drivers got the message.

'It was a blessing we were able to get out the word so quickly,' Thomas said.

Lake Oswego's well-tuned disaster preparedness plan was another factor in getting the power turned back on.

'Our staff was up and prepared,' Goff said. 'It was not as bad as it could have been. We have a good system of warning from the National Weather Service in Portland.'

Goff said that five units and 16 firefighters from the Lake Oswego Fire Department responded to the emergency. In addition, Goff and LOFD Chief Ed Wilson went to LOCOM, the city's emergency communication center, in order to monitor calls.

At Lakeridge High School, Principal Michael Lehman said the decision was made to close down on Monday after it was discovered the school had no power, except for that provided by an emergency generator. However, power was restored before noon on Monday, so activities and practices were able to proceed as scheduled.