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Power shutoffs underway in Portland area amid fire risk

PGE cut the power in hopes of reducing the risk of wildfires with conditions so extreme.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The wind began to pick up in the hills of Northwest Portland early Friday afternoon. It explained Portland General Electric's decision to conduct public safety power shutoffs across the area.

"It's extremely frustrating," Eric Reddy said.

Reddy is a server at the popular Skyline Restaurant. It had to close early Friday due to the power shutoffs. The lost business is one thing, the food is the another. The restaurant received three shipments Thursday.

"I might go out and get a generator if there is one available," Reddy said. "But we're just kind of seeing."

Skyline Restaurant is one of 37,000 PGE customers losing power for what could be several days. Schools and plenty of homes fall under that umbrella, as well. 

"We definitely don't take the decision lightly to shut off power to anyone," PGE spokesperson Allison Dobscha said. "We're doing this in these high risk fire conditions to mitigate those risks and keep people safe."

The inconvenience of these public safety power shutoffs is not lost on Multnomah County officials. They opened a community resource center at TVF&R Station 72 on Northwest Skyline Boulevard.

"We have a nice TV, lots of channels, a comfortable space for people to come in," Multnomah County Emergency Management's Allison Busch said.

Busch gave KGW a look around the firehouse that will provide charging stations, water and ice to people who need it.

"Every time we have an anticipated incident we try to think about who in our community will be most impacted by this and what their needs might be," Busch said.

Back at Skyline Restaurant, what workers need is the power to be restored in a timely manner.

"Just wait and see," Reddy said. "Limbo. Not going to be fun."

RELATED: PGE, Pacific Power begin power shutoffs in multiple Oregon counties

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RELATED: Multiple Oregon school districts cancel classes Friday due to public safety power shutoffs

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