Nearly two weeks after a once-in-a-half-century ice storm pummeled the region — leaving as many as 240,000 county residents without power — the sheriff’s office reports fewer than 1,000 remain in the dark as of Wednesday afternoon.
The number of households affected, 982, is the low-water mark for the historic blackouts, which included the entire cities of Canby and Aurora, but still represents thousands of Clackamas Countians facing extreme and even life-threatening challenges.
At least five county residents died as a result of the storm — four to carbon monoxide poisoning and one to a medical device failure due to loss of power.
This week, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the Oregon Air National Guard had deployed to storm-affected areas, doing welfare checks and offering resources to those who remained without power.
Those efforts are now being scaled back, the sheriff’s office reported Wednesday.
The relief operation with the 142nd Wing included 18 personnel from Sunday to Tuesday. The CCSO and Guard put in more than 1,100 hours combined during the joint operation.
Deputies and airmen handed out fuel gift cards, blankets, batteries, starter logs, cases of bottled water, flashlights, ready-to-eat meals and other items donated by the community.
On the last day, Sheriff Angela Brandenburg visited the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and presented the airmen with challenge coins as a token of gratitude.
“The Sheriff’s Office partnership with Clackamas County and the Oregon Air National Guard was vital to the success of the relief operation,” the CCSO said in a press release.
In addition to the Air National Guard and Clackamas County employees, the team effort came to include CSAR volunteers, SAR Coordinators, and CCSO employees from the Community Corrections, Jail and Patrol Divisions.
“Many within CCSO’s ranks were dealing with the very same adverse conditions affecting the residents they were helping,” the sheriff’s office noted.
The EOC plans to officially stand down over the weekend, if not before; however, welfare checks will continue as a normal part of sheriff’s office operations.
Residents should note that only CCSO personnel in uniform will perform welfare checks. Clackamas County said Wednesday that some residents had reported being visited by people claiming to be “Portland General Electric corporate security.”
If you are visited by a non-uniformed person claiming to be performing an official welfare check or asking if you have power, use caution. For emergencies, call or text 911; for non-emergencies, call 503-655-8211.
Aurora-based Arlene Cuisine continues to dish out free, hot meals to neighborhoods and areas most impacted by the storm and long-term power outages.
They will be serving from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Whiskey Hill Store in Hubbard and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Friday at North Marion Intermediate School in Aurora.
The storm resource center at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds also reopened Wednesday at Horning Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with hot breakfast served at 10 and dinner at 4 p.m., courtesy La Luz del Mundo en Canby Oregon.
Also a warming station, the center is providing blankets, MREs, wifi, charging stations, clean water and more.
Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!