Workers trapped 15 stories high on scaffold in downtown Portland rescued

High-rise ropes rescue plays out in downtown Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Two men were stuck, hanging roughly 15 stories up in the middle of downtown Portland Saturday morning.

They were workers with Security Signs, a firm tasked with replacing two signs at toward the top of the Umpqua Bank Plaza building at Southwest 1st Avenue and Jefferson Street.

Sometime before 10 a.m., Portland Fire and Rescue received a call that the motor on their hanging platform had stopped working.

They were left hanging roughly 15-18 feet below the building’s roof.

“Our crews had to set up a rope haul system to get those workers off of the scaffolding,” said Lt. Damon Simmons.

Simmons added the workers didn’t seem to be in danger of falling.

“As I understand it, these scaffoldings have safety systems, so when these motors do fail, as electrical systems can fail, they lock out,” he said. “Our crews made sure they were locked out, and then they were able to go down and get the guys off the scaffolding.

The workers’ boss watched the rescue play out from the street below, waiting for information.

Photos: Workers rescued from scaffold in Portland

“It wouldn't operate, so I don't know. It's probably not a rope,” said Tom Keljo, as he watched firefighters hoist his two employees up the wall of the building. “I want to go verify. I believe they're off. I want to talk to them and console them.”

By 10:30 a.m., Keljo was able to do that. Both men were pulled onto the building’s roof safely. They were uninjured and declined to comment on the ordeal.

Patti Seymour happened to be walking by as the rescue wrapped up.

“Spooky!” she said. “Kudos to those guys for doing their jobs because that's crazy.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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