Portland General Electric late Sunday announced it had finalized restoration to all customers impacted by the company’s preemptive public safety power shutoffs implemented Friday and Saturday to mitigate wildfire risk amid red flag conditions.
The safety measures affecting 17 areas and approximately 37,000 customers were taken in response to extreme fire conditions and high winds, PGE said in the news release at just before 11:45 p.m.
“PGE appreciates our customers’ patience as we prioritized the safety of people and communities where we work, live and serve,” said Larry Bekkedahl, a senior vice president with PGE. “This critical work was completed through close collaboration with community leaders and emergency responders.”
Nearly 500 operational personnel including 112 PGE, contractor and mutual assistance crews worked around-the-clock shifts patrolling, inspecting and making necessary repairs to safely restore power from the shutoffs and preventive outages.
PGE’s community resource centers served approximately 2475 people during the course of the event, providing access to charging for personal electronics, wifi and distributing ice and water.
In more good news, Marion County officials announced Monday they were downgrading evacuation levels related to the Vitae Springs fire, which consumed an estimated 124 acres of densely populated, heavily forested terrain south of Salem.
The four remaining areas that had still been at level 2 (be set) status — Vitae Springs Road between Skyline Road South to River Road, west side of Skyline Road from Vitae Springs Road to Cole Road South, Orville Road South and Riversprings Road to Prospect Ridge — were downgraded to level 1 (be ready).
At level 1, residents are advised to be aware of the danger that exists in the area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. Preparation and precautionary movements should be made for persons with special needs, mobile property, and pets and livestock.
An up-to-date map of evacuated areas can be found at bit.ly/2022VitaeSpringsFire.
The fire remained within the existing containment lines over Sunday night, and fire crews from numerous regional agencies continued to assist Salem Fire Department crews. The fire is expected to continue to smolder and produce smoke for an extended period, officials said.
The Salem Fire Department thanked the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office and Oregon Department of Forestry for their continued support and partnership during the response.
Marion County Emergency Management was coordinating with the American Red Cross Monday to close the Judson Middle School evacuee resource center. Evacuees with livestock at the Oregon State Fairgrounds were asked to work directly with county officials to coordinate their next steps.
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