LINCOLN COUNTY — Almost all of Lincoln City was still without electricity on Thursday, as firefighters continued to battle a blaze where the main transmission line for the local power provider is located.
Pacific Power had 12,236 meters out of service in the Lincoln City area as of 5 p.m. Thursday. The company temporarily restored power on Wednesday to all but 2,500, who mostly lost it due to damage to the company’s main line bringing electricity in from the Willamette Valley, but it lost that route again at 8:45 p.m. The line runs east to west near Highway 18, where the Echo Mountain Complex fire is still burning.
“Fire officials are saying we can’t go back in there yet and check on it,” Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt told the News-Times. “We have people ready to do that. When we are able to, we will, but we don’t have any estimate for when that will happen. It’s entirely dependent on firefighters telling us its safe to go back in.”
Workers have been repairing some lines damaged by winds since late Monday, and the company is currently working with Oregon Department of Forestry fire personnel to assess and repair infrastructure damaged by fire. They’ll also need to ensure all lines are clear of debris before turning electricity back on, potentially risking a new fire danger.
Pacific Power provides electrical service from Grants Pass to Portland and had 25,144 customers out statewide as Thursday afternoon.
About 2,500 Central Lincoln PUD customers from Reedsport to Lincoln Beach lost electricity at the height of this week’s wind event but had it restored by 4 p.m. Thursday. Chris Chandler, the utility’s public affairs director, said crews were last working on a final outage in the Cape Perpetua area that affected about 150 customers. She said the steep terrain in the area made access particularly difficult and there was heavy wind damage — with fallen trees, utility pole cross arms broken and some high-capacity lines down. Consumer Power had four outages still listed in Lincoln County on Thursday.