Jan 17, 2024 - News

Downed trees disrupt power for thousands of Portlanders

A person standing next to a large evergreen tree that has fallen into a roadway.

Crews respond to a downed tree on SE Troutdale Road. Photo courtesy of Multnomah County

News flash: It's been pretty dang cold out there.

Why it matters: High winds, freezing temperatures and snow have resulted in hundreds of downed trees and branches, leaving thousands of Portland-area residents without power for days.

By the numbers: Since Saturday, arborists from Portland Parks & Recreation have been working to clear over 350 downed trees and branches either entirely or partially blocking streets.

  • Multnomah County said it's dealing with over 50 downed trees, which have caused the closure of 13 county roads. Only five have reopened, a spokesperson said.
  • Oregon's Department of Transportation has responded to 284 downed tree calls statewide since Friday, spokesperson Don Hamilton told Axios.

State of play: Crews across the state prioritize tree removal from major freeways and the largest roads before clearing neighborhood streets — to allow the passage of emergency vehicles — but power company workers need to remove any electrical hazards first.

  • Utility companies, however, have their hands full with outages. According to Portland General Electric and Pacific Power, over 30,000 Portland-area homes were still without power as of Tuesday afternoon.

Be smart: Call (503) 823-TREE with any tree-related emergencies on streets and other city property.

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