Sauvie Island bridge temporarily closed

by: KOIN 6 NEWS - Crews work to repair a natural gas leak to a major pipeline on Sauvie Island that forced the evacuation of several homes Friday morning.Local residents living near the Sauvie Island bridge were forced to temporarily evacuate their homes as a result of a gas leak on a Northwest Williams gas-line near the bridge Friday morning. Multnomah County Public Information Officer Michael Pullen said the leak occurred at about 6:30 a.m. and also resulted in a closure of the bridge.

“It was a faulty valve releasing natural gas,” Pullen said. “It released gas under pressure into the air and sounded like an explosion.”

According to a press release from Portland Fire and Rescue, residents living within a half-mile of the bridge were evacuated because of the leak. The evacuation included homes both on Sauvie Island and on the opposing side of the Multnomah Channel.

“Some residents were evacuated to [Sauvie Island Academy],” Pullen said, adding that the school was also closed due to the bridge closure. “In the process of the evacuation, the valve was shut down and the evacuation was cancelled.”

The bridge was closed for about an hour and residents were able to return to their homes by about 7:20 a.m.

Pullen said although the leak caused what appeared to be a smoke cloud, no flames were present. Stew White, of Portland Fire and Rescue, said the cloud was most likely vapor. “If our guys were not calling it a fire, it was probably a vapor leak,” White said. “In the dark, that can look like smoke.”

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