New Mulching Program Helps Wildfire Mitigation Plan

Over the last few months, you may have noticed a new member of our team out and about. Last October, we hired Jarad as our Vegetation Management Operator to mulch under the power lines.

A mulcher underneath a power line in a brushy area.
A right of way before it has been mulched.

Since then, Jarad has been hard at work clearing brush and trees as part of our Wildfire Mitigation Plan. The idea is to reduce the amount of combustible material in the rights-of-way.

Because this is a new program that most people aren’t familiar with, Jarad has been going door to door in the neighborhoods he’s working in. He’s talking with the homeowners to let them know what he’s doing, to obtain permission, and to discuss how much vegetation they’re comfortable with him removing.

So far, the results have been extremely positive. From what we have heard from our customers, they’re happy with the work he’s doing. In fact, some have even asked if he’d go out and take care of their fields too!

Recent work has ben focused on the Pittsburg Road area in St. Helens. Jarad’s been taking down brush and smaller trees. One particularly noticeable swath he’s cleaned up is along Pittsburg Road near its intersection with Highway 30.

An area underneath power lines has been cleared of brush.
A right of way after it has been mulched.

He will continue to work systematically throughout our service area. He’ll primarily be working in wooded areas outside of city limits with a goal of mulching as much as possible within our territory.

Managing vegetation is an integral part of the Wildfire Mitigation Plan we adopted and submitted to the Public Utility Commission in early 2022.

Another major component of our vegetation management strategy, as identified in our Wildfire Mitigation Plan, is tree trimming. We have contracted tree crews for many years. We are beginning to transition toward having a tree crew in-house. We have ordered equipment and plan to hire tree trimmers onto our staff in the near future.

If you have any hazardous trees on your property, please don’t hesitate to let us know. Call us at (503) 397-1844 to report the threat, or do so online. We will have someone assess the situation. This is a service we offer at no additional cost to the homeowner.

These are some of the efforts we are taking to help keep our community safe and to keep your lights on.