Tree, Wind Knock Out Power to PUD Customers

Deer Island, OR – November 16, 2020 – A large tree fell through power lines in the Dalton Lake area on Saturday afternoon, causing a power outage to 206 Columbia River PUD customers. Around the same time, windy weather caused 281 customers to lose power in the Fern Hill area.

The tree caused substantial damage, breaking wire and cross arms. It fell in an area not accessible by vehicle, so PUD linemen carried in their gear by hand and climbed power poles to replace the cross arms and splice the wire.

Before they could begin repair work, they first had to cut up the large tree to remove it from the power lines.

“Given everything they were dealing with, they got the power back up really fast,” said PUD Operations Manager Kurt Nasshahn.

Power was restored to customers in St. Helens and Columbia City around 12:45 a.m. on November 15.

The size and location of the tree made restoration a lengthy process. It also made identifying the cause of the outage a simple process. Determining a trouble spot along Fern Hill Road was not as easy.

PUD crews patrolled the lines in heavy fog and never found any trees or wire that had come down. There were lots of branches on the ground, however. One of them likely fell onto a power line and stayed there long enough to cause the outage.

When crews attempted to re-energize the area, the fuses were overloaded, causing the power to go back out. Crews ultimately isolated sections of line and were able to successfully restore power in intervals.

Power was restored to 189 customers at 1 a.m., and the remaining 92 customers had power at 2:35 a.m.

The wind that blew through the area caused two other outages in the PUD’s service territory. Eighty-six customers on Beaver Springs Road were without power for a little more than two hours, and 12 customers on Larson Road were without power from 4:35 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.

All five outages were initially reported between 4:14 p.m. and 4:35 p.m. on November 14.