While some got electricity restored sooner than they expected, others couldn’t understand why they were the only ones left in the dark in their neighborhood.
OREGON CITY, Ore. — Damon Semmel and his wife have been on the phone with PGE a lot lately, hearing about transformers and circuits.
“It’s hard to take with any kind of confidence when you’ve been hearing this day after day after day,” Semmel said.
PGE said last Thursday its goal was to get the number of customers without power down from about 100,000 to about 15,000 by the end of Friday. The number of customers without power at 6 a.m. Monday was 21,491, as the company said it continued to come up against several challenges.
But the power is still out for the Semmel family and has been for over a week, while others all around them have their electricity back.
“And it’s like, what’s going on here right smack dab in the middle of Oregon City?” Semmel said. “It’s really confusing to me, I just can’t figure how we’re the only ones on this power grid still without power after eight days, and we’ve been told this morning that we can expect up to seven more days.”
The couple’s home is in a condo complex of 20 units in the shadow of large electric transmission lines. Everyone at Tartan Hilltop, including some sick and elderly, doesn’t have power. However, next door and down Gaffney Lane, life seems almost back to normal, with businesses up and running.
There was better news for Rod Stevens of hard-hit Silverton. Stevens is a former KGW News photographer who showed us the damage at his family home last Friday. He expected it could be many more days or even weeks before PGE got to him. But crews arrived Saturday and did the work required to get the power back on.
In rural areas of Clackamas County, the Oregon National Guard worked with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office to deliver help to 50 residents on Sunday. There are a lot of people without power and in need here, according to county chair Tootie Smith.
“We’re very concerned with the medically fragile, our children, and just people who can’t have heat, they may be out of food and water, and they may be unable to get out to the road,” Smith said.
Back in Oregon City, Damon Semmel is surviving with a makeshift Sterno-fueled heater in their front room, and other adjustments.
“I’ve been cooking on my propane grill outside and we have flashlights. I’m a little bit well prepared, we have an emergency weather radio,” said the homeowner, who is trying to remain hopeful that the power will eventually flow from the lines across Gaffney Lane back to his small condo complex. “And if it comes back on in time — any time — I will certainly let you guys know.”