PORTLAND, Ore-- On Saturday afternoon, Governor Kate Brown declared a State of Emergency for the Willamette Valley due to severe winter weather that has resulted in heavy snow and ice accumulation, high winds, critical transportation failures, and loss of power.
"The weather that set in yesterday and continued overnight has left extensive damage with hundreds of thousands of Oregonians without power," said Governor Brown. "Because of windstorms, utility crews were not able to safely start work on restoring power until this morning. Crews are out in full force now and are coordinating with local emergency response teams on communications for emergency services, such as warming centers. I'm committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need on the ground."
Gov. Brown has determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists because of the severe winter weather. The Governor's declaration gives the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) the pwoer to activate the state's emergency operations plan.
This includes the power to utilize personnel, equipment, and facilities from other state agencies in order to respond to or mitigate the effects of the weather emergency.
In addition, the Oregon National Guard, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Oregon Public Utility Commission and other state agencies are being directed to provide any assistance as requested by OEM.
According to Pacific Power's website, there are more than 30,000 people who are without power ranging from Salem, all the way up to Portland and the Oregon coast.
Yesterday, the Oregon Department of transportation closed Interstate 84 between mileposts 17 and 62, as deteriorating weather made driving conditions dangerous.
Winter weather made for treacherous conditions along the interstate for much of Friday with periodic closures along the interstate and a number of ramps.
Snow, ice and cold temperatures are expected in much of the Willamette Valley and ODOT is encouraging drivers to stay off the roads.