More Than 100,000 Oregon Homes Without Power — Some For Days — After Winter Storms

Christen McCurdy
A PGE crew responds to power outages in Northwest Portland.

An arctic blast caused small blackouts across the country, but none affecting so many homes as in Oregon, per national tracking tool.

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More than 110,000 Oregon households were without power Friday morning — the most, by tens of thousands, of any state in the country.

According to, Oregon was the only state that had more than 10,000 customers lacking power by Friday. That was also true earlier this week, with USA Today reporting Tuesday that Oregon led the country in the number of homes without power — by a lot. Trailing Oregon was Washington, which had just 6,018 customers without power Thursday — a number that had dipped to 1,364 by Friday morning. (In this context, “customers” refers to households with meters, not individuals, so the number of people affected by the outages is much higher.)

Oregon’s hardest-hit county as of Thursday afternoon was Multnomah County, which had 74,294 customers in the dark; Lane County was second, with 12,000 customers lacking power.

Those numbers are down from Saturday, when a snowstorm that came with 50-mile-per-hour winds uprooted trees and took out power lines throughout Western Oregon, taking out power for 45,000 Pacific Power customers and 165,000 PGE customers during the storm’s peak. Some customer have been in the dark since Saturday, as line workers have struggled to repair lines amid continued cold temperatures and back-to-back ice storms Tuesday and Thursday. That combination of conditions left tens of thousands of people shivering under blankets or with makeshift heating solutions like camping heaters, and angry as they struggled to get updates on when power would be restored.

And on Thursday night and Friday morning the number of outages inched back upward, with the state’s largest power provider, Portland General Electric — which serves more than 920,000 customers — reporting 55,150 customers were without power Friday morning, up from about 5,000 the previous morning. Pacific Power, the state’s second-largest utility, which serves 800,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California, reported that 1,374 customers were without power Friday morning.

By the end of the week, temperatures were slowly increasing in the Portland metro area  but still hovered near freezing — and freezing rain and high winds created new challenges for repair crews.

“We are experiencing additional impacts to substation feeder breakers from the strong winds and freezing rains moving through parts of our service area that are affecting equipment and causing new outages in south / southwest of Portland, and in the Bethany area in the west,” PGE spokesperson John Farmer said in an email to Oregon Business.

It’s unclear how this week’s outages compare — either in length or in scale — with other power outages in the area. A series of ice storms in February 2021 took out power for 421,649 PGE customers, with the utility reporting that a quarter of those customers experienced more than one outage.

This week’s storms were part of an arctic blast that caused unusually cold temperatures and heavy snow across the United States. ABC has reported a death toll of more than 40 attributed to the storm system, 14 of those in Tennessee.

At least 10 Oregonians have died since Saturday in incidents related to the weather, with Multnomah County reporting at least four suspected hypothermia deaths. Two people have been killed by falling trees, two in a fire caused by a generator, and three were electrocuted after a downed power line hit the roof of their car.