Last Night’s Ice Storm Caused the Largest Power Outage in Oregon History

Over 330,000 Oregonians are currently without power.

Portland on Feb. 14, viewed from Mount Tabor. (Wesley Lapointe)

Overnight, Oregon's ice-induced power outages went from widespread to historically bad.

According to a statement from Gov. Kate Brown, Oregonians are currently experiencing the largest number of outages in recorded history.

"While utility crews are making progress, the weather is leading to new outages faster than the pace of restoration," Brown said in a press release. "Utilities in our region have never experienced such widespread outages, including during the September 2020 wildfires."

Over 330,000 Oregonians are currently without power. Most of those outages are concentrated in the Willamette Valley.

The outages were brought on by yesterday's ice storm, which caused thousands of downed power lines and transformer explosions.

Thousands of Portlanders were already without power yesterday. But conditions drastically worsened in the early hours of Monday morning.

Related: More Than 240,000 Oregonians Still Without Power as Ice Encases Portland Region on Valentine's Day.

Between 3 and 5 am alone, the number of Pacific Power customers in Portland without power jumped from about 15,000 to over 23,000.

Last night, around 10,000 Portland General Electric customers in Multnomah County were without power. Now, it's over 80,000. At more than 100,000 customers without power, Clackamas County currently has the highest number of outages in the state.

Andrea Platt, a spokesperson for the company, confirmed that this is the largest power failure PGE has ever dealt with. Around 30% of PGE customers statewide are without power.

Because many customers have regained power only to lose it again, the company is struggling to provide accurate estimates of when it will be can restore power.

"It's a little like putting Humpty Dumpty back together again," says Platt. "It's likely some customers will be without power for a few days. Some customers might be without power longer."

In the meantime, PGE has dispatched 2,500 workers who will continue working around the clock.

"We have all hands on deck," says Platt. "We understand it's very difficult and challenging and we're sorry."

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