Downed lines spark small brushfire; 2 Bend-area homes hit by trees
(Update: 5,000 Pacific Power customers affected, about 5,000 customers)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Winds gusting to about 50 mph blew across much of the High Desert on Sunday, toppling trees onto power lines, homes, cars and parking lots and causing more than 30 outages affecting some 5,000 Pacific Power customers around the region.
One of the larger outages was reported shortly after 10 a.m. in the area of Blakely Road and Millbrook Lane, closing Blakely from Powers Road to the south.
Pacific Power's outage map indicated 1,191 customers were affected and power was expected to be restored before 1:30 p.m.
Utility spokesman Tom Gauntt said crews were on the scene of the outages and tried to isolate and divert power to restore power to most affected.
A second outage affected 1,369 customers off Brookswood Boulevard, in the area of Calico Road and apparently sparked a small brushfire behind a home.
Several power lines were reported down at the scene, including in the fire area, unconfirmed scanner reports indicated. The utility map indicated it could take until 3 p.m. to restore power there.
Another tree was reported to have fallen onto a home on O.B. Riley Road in Bend around 12:20 p.m. That also apparently knocked out power to about 350 customers for a time.
Pacific Power later estimated power restoration at both southern Bend locations by 4:30 p.m., but it took until nearly 8 p.m. to restore the last customers, Gauntt said.
That outage also knocked out the Bend Parkway traffic signals at Powers Road; Deschutes County 911 advised drivers to treat it as a four-way stop.
Around 11:30 a.m., part of a tall tree fell into the roof of a home on Navajo Road in Deschutes River Woods, south of Bend.
Deputy Fire Marshal Susie Maniscalco said they learned a woman had been sleeping in bed when the tree top partially came through the roof, missing her by just four feet.
Another tree was reported to have fallen onto a home on O.B. Riley Road in Bend around 12:20 p.m.
In the early afternoon, a tall Ponderosa pine tree that many observers noted had been leaning for some time toppled into the parking lot of the Bend-La Pine Education Building off Wall Street in downtown Bend.
South of downtown, meanwhile, another large tree fell onto a car parked near the intersection of Delaware Avenue and Hill Street.
NewsChannel 21 spoke with the car owner's boyfriend, Kristian Pettyjohn, who said he thought the loud crash he had heard was just the trash cans blowing over in the street.
"I mean, you can’t control the fact that a 50 mph gust is going to knock down a tree and hit your car," Pettyjohn said. "No one was hurt. That was the most important thing. As long as we can work well with all our neighbors, we’ll get it done, and on we go."
The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the High Desert and other areas of Oregon and Washington through 1 a.m. Monday, warning of westerly winds 25-35 mph with gusts to around 50 mph.
But the NWS canceled the wind advisory just before 8 p.m. Sunday, saying that "strong winds have diminished across most of the region," but that "it will remain breezy through the night."
Wind gusts reached 46 mph shortly before 11 a.m. at Redmond Airport, where the flight status page showed a delayed departure of an Alaska Airline's flight to Seattle. Similar winds were recorded at Bend Airport.
Trees also were falling in other areas of the High Desert, including one in a Prineville backyard and another in Madras, which was recording gusts to 52 mph.
Peak wind reports around the region by late Sunday included 58 mph a mile northeast of Sisters and at Round Mountain, and 53 mph at Culver.
To our north, in Renton, Washington, high winds sent a 200-foot-tall tree crashing down on an apartment building, critically injuring a man inside one of the units, The Associated Press reported.
Elsewhere, a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 84 from east of Pendleton to La Grande was closed in both directions Sunday due to a downed power line near Meacham. I-84 was reopened by mid-afternoon, except for the off-ramp at Exit 216 east of Pendleton.
State highways 11 and 204 were closed by crashes, wind-blown debris and other high-wind hazards, ODOT reported. The two state highways reopened later Sunday, Highway 204 to single-lane travel and pilot cars due to recent erosion.
"High winds are creating hazardous conditions throughout the region, including blowing dust and debris, blown over trucks, downed power lines, etc.," the agency said, urging travelers to check TripCheck for updated travel conditions.
The windstorm blowing into the state caused other scattered power outages as well.