Police fielded more than a dozen downed tree reports

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: BRIAN MONIHAN - A vehicle drives through a large puddle on Highway 43 near Mary S. Young State Park on Sunday. Police fielded calls about downed trees and false alarms, but nothing out of the ordinary according to Sgt. Dave Kempas. Pabuk still packed a punch when the sputtering typhoon blasted into the West Coast, soaking Oregon and Washington with record rainfall and howling winds.

Thousands of electricity customers were without power late Sunday night and into Monday as a line of storms that began hitting the Northwest Friday blew through the region.

In West Linn, the storms that ripped through caused tree damage and power outages, but little else.

According to West Linn Police Sgt. Dave Kempas, who was on call throughout the weekend, the majority of storm-related calls had to do with downed trees and house alarms. When necessary, police teamed with on-call city public works officials to move felled trees out of roadways.

“Some we could pull off by ourselves, and some we had to call public works (for help),” Kempas said.

In all, police fielded 14 calls regarding downed trees on Sept. 28 and Sept. 29. The reports ranged from a tree falling on a neighbor’s shed to downed power lines and tree limbs on fire.

“It was just the usual kind of stuff that happens in a city of trees when the wind blows,” Kempas said.

The city has made sand and sandbags available for free behind the old Bolton Station on Failing Street and near the playground at Willamette Park.

Power loss was rampant in Gresham, Canby and rural areas around both Clackamas and Multnomah counties, according to Portland General Electric, and on Monday the company was still working to restore power for 6,400 customers.

Portland General Electric reported that as of 10 p.m. Sunday about 18,000 customers were without power in North Portland, Gresham, Canby, Cornelius and Silverton. Most outages were caused by wind and rain-related damage, especially from falling tree limbs or trees.

About 8,000 customers were affected as of 5:30 a.m. Monday, with small outages throughout PGE’s service area. Larger concentrations of outages were in Gresham, Damascus and Canby.

Since the storm hit on Friday, PGE has restored lost power to nearly 110,000 people.

The storm also left record rainfall in its wake, making the month the wettest September in the Rose City’s history. Downtown Portland received more than 6.21 inches of rainfall in September, smashing the old record of 5.52 inches set in 1927, according to records dating back to 1871.

Steve Pierce, president of the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society, said “simply amazing” rainfall totals poured through the region last weekend.

The typhoon that was swirling off Japan’s east coast pushed a plume of rain and wind to the Pacific Northwest, making the weekend wet and wild.

“This is fairly significant by September standards and would be something we would expect to see later in the fall or winter months,” Pierce said.

In light of the storms, the Better Business Bureau for Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington advised residents to watch for suspicious contractors, or “storm chasers.”

“Storm chasing can be costly with trained salespeople going door-to-door soliciting work,” the Better Business Bureau wrote in a press release. “While many of these contractors offer low prices and quick repairs, some lack the proper registration and do not stand behind their work.”

Before making repairs, BBB reminded consumers to:

  • Take time choosing contractors and avoid being forced into decisions.
  • Research companies through verifiable resources, like
  • Get company’s complete names, addresses and phone numbers.
  • Make sure contractors are licensed, bonded and have the appropriate permits.
  • Verify company’s insurance.
  • Ask for references.
  • Draft contracts before work begins and never pay full prices upfront.
  • — The Portland Tribune contributed to this story.

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