Reward Offered for Substation Damage

Columbia River PUD is asking the public for any information regarding suspicious activity near Nicolai Road and Bishop Road in Goble on Sunday afternoon, July 23.

A bank of voltage regulators, two of which appear damaged.
Two voltage regulators at Goble Substation sustained severe damage.

The PUD’s Goble Substation was broken into by one or more individuals. They stole copper from the substation, which caused severe damage to electrical equipment in the substation and knocked out power to 934 PUD customer around 4 p.m.

After investigating the outage, PUD crews were able to restore power to customers at 6 p.m. by rerouting it from Don Nys Substation.

The damaged equipment will cost at least $100,000 to replace. If the substation transformer was damaged, the cost could be substantially higher. Once the PUD is able to replace the equipment that was destroyed, it will run tests to determine whether the transformer needs to be replaced as well.

Because of the damage, the Goble Substation will need to be taken offline for an undetermined amount of time.

Oregon House Bill 2772, which is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature, deems intentional destruction of critical infrastructure such as an electric substation to be domestic terrorism. This is either a Class B or Class C felony.

The PUD estimates that roughly $30 worth of copper was stolen.

“If you’re cutting through the fence to steal copper or for any reason, you’re putting your life at risk,” said PUD Operations Manager Kurt Nasshahn. “It’s really not worth it.”

If you noticed any suspicious activity in that vicinity, please contact the PUD at (503) 366-6500 or the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office at (503) 366-4698. Based on the condition of the substation, it is likely the suspect or suspects suffered electrical burns.

The PUD is offering a reward of $1,000 for information that leads to the conviction of the person(s) responsible for damaging the Goble Substation.