SOUTH COAST — Almost 7,000 remain without power in Douglas County following a storm that left towns isolated for days.
In a press release from Douglas County Electric, “it’s safe to say that no one was adequately prepared for (the storm).”
However, DEC wrote that it is collaborating with Pacific Power and other utilities to work with Douglas County, the Oregon Department of Transportation and a “giant number of outside contractors” to reopen roads and restore electricity.
“Douglas Electric now has over twice as many electric utility contractors, tree crews, flaggers and excavators as we have normal employees,” the release said. “Many crews are working 40-hour shifts before they get a rest period. As we cycle crews in and out to give them a little rest, others come on board. This outage is being worked 24 hours a day.”
On Thursday, DEC chartered a helicopter to survey the transmission lines throughout the county and also west of Elkton and toward the coast. The inspection showed DEC that it needs to run fly wire and put in poles to re-create parts of the system.
“Our right-of way is clean and well-maintained, but trees falling on our lines outside the right of way have brought structures down in almost three feet of snow,” the release said. “That is not a quick fix.”
The release encouraged members of the outage to visit family or friends with power.
“At this time we are not giving any estimates as to when and where that might be,” the release said. “We thank everyone for trying to understand.”
Meanwhile, the Hooskanaden Slide is still moving and has delayed work to repair Highway 101.
In an update from the Oregon Department of Transportation, U.S. Highway 101 is remain closed a few more days as the slide is moving 11 inches an hour.
“ODOT and Tidewater Contractors have mobilized equipment and are standing ready to rebuild a quarter mile of U.S. 101 after a slide near Hooskanaden Creek closed the highway 12 miles north of Brookings on Monday,” the release said. “Earlier in the week, the ground had been moving more than 2 feet an hour, resulting in enormous cracks in the road surface and a 10-foot dropoff.”
Once movement slows to three inches an hour, ODOT and Tidewater will start pouring rock and rebuilding the roadway to at least one open lane.
“Meanwhile, Tidewater is addressing a related problem uphill from the highway,” the release said. “The initial slide blocked the natural path of a creek on the hillside, shifting the runoff into the middle of the slide and causing the ground to become saturated and less stable. Tidewater is currently working on the hillside to reestablish the original channel and direct water away from the slide.”
Motorists are advised to use alternate routes, the release said.
In a separate update, ODOT announced that Oregon 138 West between Elkton and Sutherlin is now open.
“The highway had been closed since Monday, when a snowstorm knocked down power lines and trees along the roadway,” the release said. “Motorists should drive with caution as workers continue to clear trees and debris from the side of the road. Flaggers will provide traffic control as needed.”