Downed trees and power outages expected with Oregon ice storm

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 5:50 PM PST
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LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KPTV) — As winter weather approaches the Pacific Northwest, the potential for widespread ice in parts of the region could bring down trees, and with that some powerlines.

Chris Ruvalcaba is an arborist and owner of Monkeyman’s Tree Service in Lake Oswego. He said his company is getting crews ready to respond to any calls they might get. Even though the best time to get ready for winter weather is in the summer, Ruvalcaba said now is a good time to take note of large trees and branches on and around your property. Especially ones near structures or power lines. He also said as water starts to freeze on smaller, ornamental trees, you can use a broom to shake the tree to knock any ice off before it really starts to accumulate. He said the best thing you can always do is call a certified arborist.

“Folks don’t realize, snow is 90 percent air, and ice is 90 percent water,” Ruvalcaba said. “Water weighs a little more than 8 pounds a gallon. When you got hundreds and hundreds of gallons of water on a tree it can be catastrophic.”

Portland General Electric said all year they’ve taken proactive steps to clear branches from powerlines across their service area. They also have field crews on standby for power outages from downed trees. Their Integrated Operations Center is also ready to coordinate those crews out helping restore power. A spokesperson said in a statement:

“We think about staffing holistically, from crews at the front lines to our Incident Management team (which leads our response to incidents like major storms), to get prepared for what the weather may bring. Additionally, our Integrated Operations Center serves as a nerve-center that allows PGE to use remote sensors and weather stations, among other systems, to monitor and control our system – and the factors that are affecting it. This way, we can more quickly respond and address any impact of weather and weather-related outages. "

Both Pacific Power and Portland General Electric said you should have a winter weather outage kit. This includes flashlights, batteries, hand crank radios, blankets, water, a car charger for electronics, canned food, a hand-powered can opener, and extra batteries. You can report outages to Portland General Electric by calling (503)-464-7777. You can also report outages through the app. For Pacific Power, you can call 1-877-508-5088 or by texting OUT to 722797. There is also a way to report outages through the mobile app.