Outages continue to plague Douglas County

March 2, 2019
A downed Douglas fir tree blocks a road as heavy snow falls during a storm along a country road in Kellogg.

Power crews have reduced the number of outages in Douglas County to under 10,000, according to reports from Pacific Power and Douglas Electric Cooperative.

Pacific Power is still working to restore power to some 3,700 customers while Douglas Electric is still working on the needs of 6,200 customers.

David Lucas, the vice president of operations for Pacific Power, said crews had made strides to restore electricity for large groups of people in the Roseburg area.

“Now we’re working on the numerous smaller outages that in some instances can take longer to restore,” he said in a written statement Friday. “Especially in the harder to reach areas that are more labor-intensive to access and repair; this means we will be bringing customers back on in smaller pockets.”

Todd Munsey, a spokesman for Douglas Electric, said some crews have been working 40-hour shifts before taking rest periods in order to restore power.

“As we cycle crews in and out to give them a little rest, others come on board,” he said. “This outage is being worked 24 hours a day.”

Munsey said the co-op flew a helicopter over Elkton and some areas toward to coast to get a better idea of the damage the winter storm caused to the county’s electrical infrastructure.

“It is difficult to comprehend the amount of damage until you get into the heart of our service territory, and trust me, it’s not pretty,” he said. “Our right-of-way is clean and well-maintained, but trees falling on our lines outside the right-of-way have brought structures down in almost 3 feet of snow.

“That is not a quick fix,” he said.

He said crews are still focusing on restoring transmission lines before turning their attention to distribution lines.

“At this time we are not giving any estimates as to when and where that might be,” he said. “We thank everyone for trying to understand.”

Across Douglas County, rescue crews, volunteers and neighbors have been working tirelessly to provide assistance to those in need. Over 140 welfare checks have been performed by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and rescue crews from across the state that have responded to the area.

Even Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin and Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice chipped in, traveling to Elkton on Friday to provide assistance.

For those who need help, or for those who know of any elderly or vulnerable neighbors that might need help with food, water, or heat, the county’s non-emergency Volunteer Service Center hotline remains open. The center can be reached at 541-464-6556 and 541-464-6555.

Approximately 18 welfare checks and 30 phone calls were completed by the group on Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office.

In an emergency, call 911.