West Oregon Electric Co-op offices in Vernonia. Photo: Chas Hundley
At 9 p.m., West Oregon Electric Co-op customers will see their lights go dark and their electricity access ended as the Vernonia-based utility cooperative plans to shut off power for all their customers outside of Vernonia from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday.
In Washington County, this includes the community of Timber as well as WOEC customers in Manning and Buxton and those north to the Columbia County line, Mountaindale, and more communities in Columbia County. The Hagg Lake area and some portions of rural Yamhill County are also served by WOEC.
“If necessary, Vernonia will be without power as well,” the Co-op said in a statement on their Facebook page. “This outage is necessary to protect our members who reside in high-risk fire zone areas. High winds are forecasted for our area. Per ODFW guidelines, power will be shut off from 9:00 p.m this evening to 3:00 p.m tomorrow. Please be prepared for this time frame to change as conditions evolve. We’ll do our best to restore service as quickly as safety allows!”
ODF District Forester Mike Cafferata confirmed that ODF was recommending the move in a message to the Banks Post.
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“ODF recommended shutting down power lines to protect life and safety as the strongest winds move through the area in late evening and overnight,” Cafferata said, noting numerous fires locally and in the region. “ODF really appreciates the fast action and cooperation of West Oregon Electric to protect the public.”