Downed tree in Hillsboro knocks out power, blocks traffic


A large tree came crashing down in Hillsboro Thursday afternoon, taking out power lines and blocking a road.

The 65-foot tree fell at Southeast Walnut and First Avenue, sending Hillsboro city crews and police scrambling to clear the mess and get traffic through the area.

Officials with the Hillsboro School district confirmed to FOX 12 that a district school bus was hit by the falling tree. District officials said it was a full bus but that only two students received minor injuries.

The students were checked out by emergency personnel at the scene and taken home by their parents.

City officials are advising drivers to avoid the area while public works crews clear the debris.

Viewer in #Hillsboro sent me this pic, says 40-foot tree took down power lines near SE Walnut & 1st Ave. Blocking lanes @HillsboroPolice @CityofHillsboro @fox12oregon @fox12weather— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) January 11, 2018
Video of large downed tree in Hillsboro. power lines are all stretched out @fox12oregon @fox12weather @HillsboroPolice— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) January 12, 2018
Crews say this big oak tree is probably 65 feet tall. They’re cutting it up & removing now. Avoid SW Walnut & 1st @HillsboroPolice @CityofHillsboro @fox12oregon— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) January 12, 2018

Witnesses told FOX 12 large wind gusts blew down the tree, sending it down in a huge crash.

“We just looked over, just at the moment, and all of the sudden the just tree started going,” Richard Ducharme said. “And it went down through the lines and it was just, ‘Crash! Boom!’ And we’re like 'Oh my God, the lines didn’t break and the electricity isn’t off!'"

“That’s a man crusher right there.” Witness says gust of wind sent this tree down, sounded like a huge crash @fox12oregon @fox12weather @HillsboroPolice @CityofHillsboro— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) January 12, 2018

Ashlun Oberst, an arborist, was right across the street when the tree fell.

"Beautiful 100-year-old oak, it was gorgeous," said Oberst. "This had got crucial rot going all the way to the center cavity."

The tree expert was shocked to see the significant oak collapse.

"It's just this unknown rot that's underneath, it's hard to tell from looking at it," Oberst said.

Some PGE customers were affected by the downed power lines. Crews worked fast and had the power back on around 6:30 p.m.

City crews were able to reopen Walnut at 1st just after 9 p.m.

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