PRINEVILLE, OR -- Several Crook County communities find themselves cut off by a massive amount of snow on unmaintained private roads. Officials are now asking the state to send personnel and equipment to help.
Crook County Emergency Manager Michael Ryan tells KBND News, "Juniper Acres is a specific area that’s giving us some concern, right now. They’ve had a large amount of snowfall; and then this weekend we had heavy winds that created snow drifts, some of which are eight to 10-feet high. And, the road system is pretty much been shut down." Juniper Acres is located about 25 miles south of Prineville and is not serviced by the county road department or municipal water; many residents rely on private water and propane deliveries, which can’t get through given the current conditions.
"County Court, in a regularly scheduled work session, made an emergency declaration, which is being forwarded up to the Governor’s Office," says Ryan. "We’ve specifically asked for National Guard resources, in the form of large front loaders and road graders to assist us with the problem out in Juniper Acres and in other areas."
Search and Rescue will go in on snowmobiles to help, if there’s a life-safety issue; Ryan says they’ve already had to do that a couple times in the past few days. But, he says they won't use those resources to deliver food, water or fuel. "Somebody has a medical emergency. Or, they’re saying ‘we’re freezing to death and we don’t have any supplies, stuff to keep the house warm; we want to be evacuated.’ Those are life safety priorities for us and we, in conjunction with the fire district and the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, will go in by snowmobile and either bring the patient out or bring those people out."