SALEM, Ore. — Portland General Electric (PGE) shut off power to hundreds of customers in the Salem area on Wednesday, despite high temperatures expected to climb into the 90s.
The power outage was expected to occur between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. as crews worked to reenergize "a new underground wire to reduce reliability concerns for the area," according to Allison Dobscha with PGE.
Dobscha said crews have been working to address the issue through a phased approach in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of a prolonged outage.
"Once this work is complete, it will significantly reduce the risk of future outages that are lengthy and unplanned," said Dobscha.
The outage was expected to impact about 280 customers, PGE said.
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A Salem man, who contacted KGW on Tuesday and left a voice message, said he received a scheduled maintenance notice from PGE. The man said he was "deeply concerned about the health and well-being" of the people impacted because of the hot weather.
A KGW crew also spoke to residents of a mobile home park where the power was shut off all day because of the work PGE was doing. They said that nobody received any word that they were going to be without power all day when temperatures were expected to climb well into the 90s again on Wednesday.
"My neighbors who have health issues don’t have oxygen and they didn’t get to prepare for this — that’s the biggest thing, the health issues that we’re all going to go through here during the heat," said Sarah Mentzer, who lives at the Lakeside Village Mobile Home park in Salem.
KGW reached out to PGE for comment.
“We know any outage can be frustrating, especially on a hot day, and we appreciate customers’ understanding as our crews complete this critical work,” Dobscha said.
Dobscha also noted that PGE considers a range of factors, including hot weather, before deciding to move forward with an outage.
High temperatures in the Portland metro are forecasted to remain in the low- to mid-90s on Wednesday and Thursday.
A Heat Advisory was issued for parts of the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge and the Columbia Basin on Tuesday. Most of the valley saw record temperatures, but only Portland spiked to 100 degrees.
The power was back on by 3:00 Wednesday afternoon.
While the city of Salem hasn't designated any cooling centers for residents this week, there is a list of neighborhood splash fountains available on the city's website to help people get some relief from the summer heat.
Other options to escape the heat are public indoor facilities including shopping centers, movie theaters and libraries:
- Salem Main Public Library: 585 Liberty St., open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Wednesdays
- West Salem Branch: 395 Glen Creek Rd., open 12 p.m.-5 p.m. on Wednesdays