Tag: Pacific Power

Proposed NE Halsey Substation Enhances Grid

In the last days of 2017, PacifiCorp purchased an industrial property composed of three metal-clad buildings at 9380 NE Halsey Street. In 2018, the power utility cleared all structures from the property and now proposes the construction of a new distribution substation at this Interstate 84 adjacent site. When completed in 2026, this location would increase capacity for Pacific Power’s customers and meet the increasing demand placed on the power grid.

Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp, provides electricity to Montavilla properties north of SE Stark Street. Although located just outside the neighborhood’s boundary, this distribution substation will play a critical role in maintaining the local power grid as service demands increase. “The purpose of the new substation is to increase capacity to serve customers, further improve reliability, and plan for growth. These are all long-term goals,” explained Tom Gauntt with PacifiCorp.

Portland Maps

Energy experts project that the region’s power demands will jump as developers construct new buildings and people upgrade existing properties. During the October 6th Design Commission Hearing, Commissioner Samuel Rodriguez noted that developers anticipate building transformers to increase in size by 20 percent to accommodate new Electric Vehicle (EV) charging requirements. He, and other commissioners, also acknowledged environmentally conscious design would increase power system demands. Many builders will rely entirely on electricity as they remove carbon-emitting natural gas appliances and heating systems from buildings. The increase in power-efficient devices has improved the burden placed on the power grid. However, taking over the work of natural gas, installing EV charging capacity, and the increased use of air conditioning will require more electricity than we currently use.

Pacific Power engineers are just now beginning the planning and permitting process for the distribution substation on NE Halsey Street. Final plans for the project are years away from completion. However, this addition to the power distribution network should be online in advance of demand, allowing for environmentally responsible shifts in construction and new electricity service for an increasing population.

Power Outage in Heatwave

Update: 9:38 a.m. – Pacific Power confirmed crews restored power to all affecting residences. As air conditioner use increases in the region, these minor outages could become more common. The rise in extreme heat events will also make outages more dangerous for those who require electricity to stay cool.

Update: 9:09 a.m. – Reports of power restoration are starting to come in.


This morning, customers of Pacific Power in Montavilla found themselves without electricity. A localized power outage is affecting 276 residences. The power went offline around 6:30 a.m. and, as of yet, has not been restored. Linemen are on site working to restore power to the small section of the neighborhood served by their company. Repair estimates say power should return by 11:30 a.m.

Pacific Power provides electrical service in Montavilla north of SE Stark Street. Portland General Electric (PGE) covers the southern portion of the neighborhood. PGE customers have not reported any outages in the area. With temperatures already reaching 75 degrees, residents are concerned about cooling themselves before the power service comes back. This article will update when power is restored.

April Snow and Power Outages

As of 10 AM this morning, snow continues to fall on Montavilla, adding to the inches accumulated overnight. Tree branches loaded with flowers and new leaves sag heavy under the unexpected snow, some snapping from the increased weight. Power is out for several blocks, with Pacific Power reporting 2417 customers without electricity in the neighborhood. Portland General Electric (PGE) also reports scattered outages in the area.

With Portland Public Schools closing for the day, many families can be seen walking the neighborhood taking in a rare spring snow day. Warmer than freezing temperatures have kept the streets and sidewalks mostly clear of snow and ice. However, transportation authorities advise caution when traveling through the slush. Weather reports indicate the snow will transition to rain later in the day, around noon.

Update: As of 1 PM, Pacific Power reports all customers have power service restored in Montavilla.

Utility Pole Severed by Auto Collision

Yesterday, Pacific Power crews closed one lane of traffic as they replaced a damaged utility pole at 232 NE 82nd Avenue. A vehicle collided with the pole in the early morning hours of December 20th, snapping the wooden pole free at the sidewalk and cracking it in half.

Photo by Weston Ruter

Pacific Power received notice of the damage at 6:44 AM. The incident affected electrical service to a single customer, and crews restored service soon after 10:00 AM. An area resident noted on Facebook that a similar incident demolished the same utility pole in 2015. Tom Gauntt, Spokesman at Pacific Power, did not have records extending back to that prior incident but noted that 82nd Avenue utility poles often suffer similar vehicle collisions.

Within 12 hours of its reported damage, crews replaced the utility pole, restoring power to a single city streetlight on the west side of 82nd Avenue. The linemen minimized the disruption to commuters, only closing the outermost northbound lane of 82nd Avenue. Unfortunately, due to its location at the entrance to Wendy’s Restaurant and within inches of the curb, this price of infrastructure may suffer the same collision again. Fortunately, the wood utility pole is relatively easy to replace, and this junction point serves just one customer.


Title photo and other image as noted by Weston Ruter. All others, copyright Montavilla News.

Umbrella Power Outage

Yesterday Montavilla experienced a power outage that affected over 3,000 customers. Residents in all four zip-codes of Montavilla experienced the outage. The total time without power was little over and hour, from 12:43 to 1:51 PM.

The Oregonian reported that an umbrella was the cause of the outage. Pacific Power spokesperson Tom Gauntt was quoted in the article, saying that this was the first time he had seen a loose umbrella cause an outage. The umbrella made contact with the power lines near Mall 205, causing a short.