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Natural gas line break forces out Portland Heights residents

Several Portland Heights neighborhood residents had to leave their homes Wednesday morning when a natural gas line was severed during a construction process.

At about 11 a.m., Portland firefighters cleared homes in a two-block area around the leak between Southwest 17th and 19th avenues, and Clifton and Jackson streets. NW Natural crews were dispatched to shut off the gas line, which took about an hour.

Firefighters said the natural gas line was broken when dirt collapsed in a construction trench. Crews used portable gas detection equipment to read gas levels and monitor air quality around the leak to ensure there was no build-up of gas in the homes.