Rural Clackamas County deals with no running water amid power shutoffs

Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 4:55 PM PDT
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ESTACADA, Ore. (KPTV) - It is an all out effort by Oregon’s largest utility to prevent the next massive wildfire.

Portland General Electric has shut down power for most homes off Highway 211 between Estacada and Dodge as of early Friday.

One of those homeowners is Julie Stapleton, who lives in a home she built with her late husband in the 1970s. She says the power outage, water supply issues, wildfire risk, and chance of trees blowing over and damaging her house is overwhelming.

“It’s not easy, but it is something you have to look at, you don’t have any choice about this, so you better do the best you can,” said Stapleton. “You’re just sort of in limbo and you just kind of hold on.”

Stapleton says her home gets water through a well, which relies on electricity to pump the water through the house. In her kitchen, common household appliances like the kitchen sink and refrigerator are unusable. Without electricity, she has had to rely on bottled water she bought in anticipation for this outage.

“It’s just drinking water, to wash your face and hands, and you have to add water to the toilet because it doesn’t fill up again,” said Stapleton. “I mean it’s the whole thing.”

For one home in the same area, the lights are still on thanks to a propane powered emergency generator. Rochelle Shibahara says she had a backup generator installed months ago in anticipation for power outages related to wildfire risk or other severe weather.

“The power went off at about 7:00, and about 10-15 seconds later my power came back on just because of this auto system that we installed,” said Shibahara. “So, I feel very grateful.”