New additions will provide more natural light and last four times longer

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A before and after shot from Oregon City shows the difference between cobrahead streetlights, on the left, and the new LED lights on the right. The city will soon be infused with a more natural form of light, as Portland General Electric arrives next week to install more than 900 light emitting diode streetlight fixtures.

These new LED lights, according the city, will save more than $20,000 annually in the street fund while offering better visibility, energy savings, longer life and recyclability.

“We are pleased that PGE is installing the new LED lights because they are more cost-effective, sustainable, and provide better quality light,” said Assistant City Manager Kirsten Wyatt. “Street lighting is a significant expense in the City’s Street Fund, so finding cost-effective solutions is always preferred.”

West Linn houses more than 2,200 streetlight fixtures, and over the course of about four weeks PGE will convert 900 of them. The poles themselves will not be replaced.

The lights will use between 60 and 70 percent less energy than the city’s current “cobrahead” streetlights, lowering energy costs as a result. The new LED lights also shine white, as opposed to orange or yellow, to improve visibility, and last more than four times longer than cobraheads.

“The quality of light is better,” said Janet Ebright, a manager at PGE. “People compare it to moonlight ... the light is just even and consistent and really improves nightime visibility.”

Though the assumption is that the lights will also make for safer nightime driving, Ebright said the evidence is anecdotal at best until further studies are completed. Still, improved visibility can only be viewed as a positive.

“The biggest difference is you can actually see color,” Ebright said. “You can see the green in trees, yellow stripes in the road; colors pop a lot more.”

According to Ebright, PGE has already installed LED lights in Estacada and Oregon City to rave reviews, and will put in about 25,000 lights total as it makes its way through its service areas.

The 900 installations in West Linn will take place over about five weeks.

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