CULVER, OR -- Much of Jefferson County was without power for several hours Thursday morning, amid sub-freezing temperatures. County Commissioner Kelly Simmelink owns a screen printing and embroidering business near the Madras Airport. He says after three days of snow-related closures, the outage added insult to injury, "We’ve been shut down here at our offices. Tried to get up here and get things fired up and get back to production and, basically, power was out so employees were sent home. Strike four, if you want to call it something."
Many other Madras-area businesses were also forced to close due to lack of heat, "You know, it’s one-degree – one, two three degrees. It’s sunny; it’s beautiful, so we had all the south facing window shades open so we could get a little bit of heat in here. But, it’s been miserable." But, Simmelink tells KBND News, this week has also proven how Jefferson County residents help each other in times of need. Simmelink used his extra time at home to help neighbors dig out. When he returned to his office, Thursday, Simmelink found someone else helping him, "I came up here and one of the guys in my building, up here, had been out plowing our driveways and stuff like that, so customers could get in, should they show up."
Pacific Power says around 10,000 customers were initially impacted by Thursday's outage, which began just before 8 a.m. They believe it was caused by a transmission problem from an energy supplier that feeds the Culver substation. Most had power restored by noon. Although some in the Culver area didn't see their lights and heat return until around 3 p.m.
Photo: Pacific Power crews work in Culver late into Thursday night. assessing lines. Photo by Culver resident Jessica Locke.