OAKRIDGE, Ore. — Lane County can’t catch a break from winter.
The mountain town of Oakridge has been without power for three days now. The only road into town is still not fully open due to dangerous conditions, although the Oregon Department of Transportation says they are making good progress clearing downed trees, debris and snow off Highway 58.
“I've never been in a crisis like this in 30 some years. So, it's awful, lots of snow and I can't wait till our power comes back on,” Oakridge resident Jim Lyons said.
KGW's news partners in Eugene, KEZI, got a look behind the roadblock into town on Wednesday.
Video shows hundreds of downed trees along the side of the road between Lowell and Middle Fork Ranger Station, before Oakridge.
Crews with heavy machinery and chainsaws worked to clear the mess all day, but snow is still blocking some portions of the lanes.
The Oregon Department of Transportation allowed people limited access westbound on Highway 58, escorting them out and back into town. They were escorted out at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., returning at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Oakridge city councilor Chrissy Hollett told KGW that’s the plan for Thursday as well.
Some residents are left feeling helpless, and scrambling to stock up on supplies.
"It seems like, to me, Oakridge doesn't matter. Everybody's run out of food, it's freezing. We are heading out of town. I don't know what we're going to do,” said Oakridge resident George Parker.
“Most people weren't sure how to prepare for this. It's more than what we've been able to take on,” Randolph Beers said.
Red Cross opened a shelter at the Oakridge Junior Senior High School where there is heat, limited cots and meals.
Lane County Emergency Services are filling propane tanks for free at a church in town. Oregon Department of Energy tweeted their emergency preparedness team is working with ODOT, Oregon Office of Emergency Management and Lane County to arrange safe delivery of propane to the city.
On Wednesday evening, Lane County said on social media that they worked with Red Cross to send a convoy of essential supplies to the warming center and shelter at the high school. It included food, water, diapers, baby food, medication, insulin, oxygen tanks, batteries, pet supplies and more.
It's not clear when Highway 58 will be fully open to regular traffic again or when power will be restored in Oakridge.