Cedar Mill
Community Website

Search the Cedar Mill News:

About The
Cedar Mill News

Volume 17, Issue 2
February 2019


Verizon contractor causes traffic snarl, power outage

Around 2:15 on Tuesday, January 29, a worker with Henkels & McCoy Contracting contacted Washington County to let them know that they had likely damaged a power cable providing power to a traffic signal. They were excavating along Saltzman for MCI Verizon, who has been installing miles of new cable in the area. According to one reader, the power was out from 1:25-3:27 pm.

As it turned out, they had hit the primary feeder cable lines leading to a substation connection, according to Portland General spokesman, Daniel McArdle-Jaimes. The accident knocked out power to several traffic signals along with numerous homes and businesses in the area, for a total of around 1300 customers.

Traffic is normally heavy at the Cornell-Saltzman intersection, but with a
lane closure and traffic lights out, it was a nightmare!
Traffic is normally heavy at the Cornell-Saltzman intersection, but with a lane closure and traffic lights out, it was a nightmare!

People began reporting it to Portland General, who responded quickly, and much of the power was restored by around 3:30. Some area businesses had decided to shut down for the rest of the day by then, according to reports on the Cedar Mill News Facebook page.

The right northbound lane of Saltzman approaching Cornell was already closed for the excavation, so progress through the intersection was extremely slow! Folks said that some of the contractor workers began trying to direct traffic. Although Washington County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to observe the situation, they didn’t provide traffic control.

McArdle-Jaimes says that liability and compensation for damages will be worked out by both companies’ insurance carriers after a thorough investigation. He pointed out that Cornell has been a major utility corridor since the earliest days and likely has quite a tangle of underground cable.

Traffic lights were out at the intersections of Barnes and Cedar Hills Blvd, Cornell and Saltzman, and up to 128th Place and Saltzman, that we know of. Most people behaved as they should in a situation like this, according to the reports on Facebook and NextDoor, which is to treat the intersection as a four-way stop. A few folks failed to stop, but we didn’t hear of any accidents.

All three responsible agencies/companies have Twitter accounts that are supposed to let people know of areas of concern. Washington County Roads (@washcoroads) put out an announcement at 4:50 and the Washington County Sheriff (@WCSO Oregon) didn’t tweet until 4:54, too late to save anyone from getting involved, and after the situation had been resolved. Portland General’s twitter person responded to my query later (@portlandgeneral) but hadn’t posted anything during the situation. By the time I checked Portland General’s outage report page, they had cleared the notice because it had been fixed.

Reports of traffic delays were still coming in later, however, but we all know Cornell is a mess in the afternoon! Hopefully once the US 26/Cedar Hills Bl. offramp is improved there will be a little relief.

In preparation for next week’s winter weather, McArdle-Jaimes suggests that people visit their website to learn more about how outages are caused, how Portland General restores power, but more importantly, how to prepare in advance for unexpected outages. Also on that page are links to information on food safety in the event of a prolonged power outage, how to ensure that critical medical equipment can continue to work, and other useful information.


Previous article


Next article

Sign Up Now to receive
The Cedar Mill News by email each month

fb like
Like us on Facebook for timely updates

Cedar Mill News
Past Issues

Published monthly by Cedar Mill News LLC
Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
PO Box 91061
Portland, Oregon 97291
© 2018