PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Downed trees have become a constant problem over the last week in the western Portland metro area, causing major damages and widespread power outages throughout Friday morning.
Just in the last week, 150 trees have fallen across Washington County, prompting major road closures. Friday alone, Southwest Barnes Road heading into Washington County was closed for several hours while crews brought a tree down the road.
This is one of the factors leaving tens of thousands of people without power, a figure growing since the latest round of ice and snow across the valley.
Chris Shepard, who lives in the area, left home with his wife Thursday night after a tree fell on his house.
“My wife and I were sitting in the living room and it was like a lightning bolt struck our house,” said Shepard. “All of the lights flashed, bright giant flash.”
They then scooped up their dog and sleeping baby and headed to a hotel.
When they came back Friday morning, another tree had fallen a few houses down on Southwest 32nd.
“Fortunately it didn’t smash the truck,” added Shepard.
Portland fire and utility crews are still responding, securing the area and deactivating power lines before heading to another call. This has been the theme for emergency responders all storm long.
A firefighter who grew up in Portland told KOIN 6 News the destruction around the hills and the city is one of the worst he’s seen here in his life. The combination of the wind and snow he believes weakened things last weekend, then the ice building up on it throughout the week, including last night.
These conditions are affecting various roads over the West Hills like Germantown, Old Germantown, Barnes and Burnside, which are all dealing with ice and downed trees.
“How we’re approaching this is that when we receive a report of a downed tree, we will clear at least one lane of travel if not more,” said Chris Lueneberg with the Washington County Roads & Land Use Department. “But we may leave some debris there so property owners who see some debris out there, know we will be back to clean up the rest.”
Lueneburg added it could take weeks for everything to be cleaned up. That’s likely the same for Portland as well, with how many trees have fallen and the ice not thawing out just yet. So crews are asking people to be patient as they work to clean up debris and restore power.