12:45 p.m. update: The Banks School District said that the gas leak was contained.
“Banks Elementary School will remain on “Secure Status” to allow service vehicles to continue to work. Dismissal will be on a regular schedule but please plan for additional congestion and follow any direction from flaggers or school personnel,” the district said.
Contractors working near the fence line of the Banks Elementary School struck a gas line Thursday morning, the Banks School District said in a district-wide alert.
“All Banks Schools were placed into “secure” meaning they will stay inside and the campus is closed,” the district said. “Banks Fire is continuously monitoring the situation and air quality but the schools and students are safe,” the district noted.
The district said the contractors immediately reported the situation, and that Banks Fire District and Northwest Natural Gas staff arrived to assess the scene on Trellis Way.
“Please avoid the area and do not try to come pick up your students at this time,” Banks Fire District spokesperson Scott Adams said in a social media post.
“Natural Gas is venting to the air and it is very likely you may smell it,” he added.
He said the odor is injected into the gas can be smelled safely in “very small” concentrations of gas.
“We are working with Northwest Natural Gas and our other public service partners including the school district, the city, and Washington County Sheriff’s Department, to safely contain this event,” Adams said.
The district noted that no one will be able to access the campus at this time, and promised further updates at 1 p.m. or as the situation develops.
“We anticipate a normal pickup, however, please expect delays due to traffic control,” the district said.