HILLSBORO, Ore. -- A large power outage not only affected around 8,000 customers in Washington County Monday, it caused traffic lights to go dark in a busy Hillsboro intersection and led to several crashes.
"Now It's made me late for work. It's obviously shut down traffic for everybody else," said driver Mark Wignall, whose SUV was hit. "It's just a good reminder that when the lights are out, it's supposed to be like a stop sign."
Portland General Electric officials think a squirrel caused the outage when it came in contact with equipment at a substation. See outage list
Power was restored around 10 a.m., but before that, confused drivers crashed along 185th Avenue, between Evergreen and Cornell, where a traffic light was out.
Drivers were supposed to treat the intersections like a four-way stop during an outage, but some did not. Wignall's SUV was T-boned by an oncoming vehicle and a sheriff's patrol car was also involved in a minor crash. No major injuries were reported.
2 outage-related crashes at Evergreen/185th in Hillsboro. One car didn't treat as 4way stop, hit another. Car flipped U and hit deputy— Nina Mehlhaf (@NinaMehlhaf) July 7, 2014
A similar outage last week in the same spot was also blamed on a squirrel.
"It turns out squirrels will strike the same place twice," PGE spokesman Steve Corson said Monday morning. "That's pretty frustrating for the customers there."