Outage and Restoration Updates


For those who are following the impacts of the Holiday Farm Fire on power and water, we are posting regular updates below. 

FRIDAY, SEPT. 18

UPDATE 5 PM:

We have just learned that the Level 3 evacuation notice has been downgraded to a Level 2, and residents in the area east of Holden Creek Lane up to the Leaburg Dam are being allowed to return to their homes and businesses. Our customers in this area should know they will not have electric service restored until Saturday and possibly Sunday. Those structures with extensive fire damage could take longer to restore.  

EWEB crews, working in coordination with Fire Command, conducted assessment operations from the east end of Holden Creek Lane up to the Leaburg Dam on Thursday to determine damage to the electric infrastructure. The crews and other staff now have a clear picture of the equipment needed to begin repairs to the system. That information has been shared with our planning and engineering staff, who have spent Friday creating restoration plans.  

Crews will begin restoration services Saturday morning. We expect service restorations will go pretty quickly. Customers returning to this area should examine their tap lines and weatherheads for damage.  

Please check for status updates here, or go check our online outage map. We'll also be posting restoration information our Facebook and Twitter feeds.  

Due to forecasted hazardous weather conditions including rain, wind, potential lightning and hail, Fire Command suspended operations for all utility companies and non-essential people from entering the Level 3 evacuation areas and all areas within the fire footprint starting at 6 p.m. Thursday. The temporary suspension was lifted at 3 p.m. Friday.

THURSDAY, SEPT. 17

UPDATE 8 PM:

Due to forecasted hazardous weather conditions including rain, wind, potential lightning and hail, Fire Command has suspended operations for all utility companies and non-essential people from entering the Level 3 evacuation areas and all areas within the fire footprint starting at 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday. Depending on weather conditions the suspension of activity may be extended in 24-hour increments. 

Fire Command is concerned about fire-weakened trees and rocks falling into the roadway or areas where personnel are working. No utility crews except those directly related to the Highway 126 danger tree removal operation or Leaburg Dam operations will be allowed in the fire areas during temporary suspension.  

Crews, working in coordination with Fire Command, conducted assessment operations from the east end of Holden Creek Lane toward the Leaburg Dam are to determine damage to the electric infrastructure. The crews and other staff now have a clear picture of the equipment needed to begin repairs to the system. No restorations of service will take place on Friday.  

Please keep in mind that Fire Command and law enforcement have allowed EWEB and other resource agencies into certain Level 3 evacuation zones that remain inaccessible to residents and the public. For the most up to date status, go to the Lane County Fire Map.

UPDATE 1:30 PM:

EWEB crews, working in coordination with Fire Command, are continuing assessment, repair and restoration operations from the east end of Holden Creek Lane toward the Leaburg Dam area. Due to damaged electric infrastructure, danger trees and other obstacles, this recovery phase is expected to take several days.

Please keep in mind that Fire Command and law enforcement have allowed EWEB and other resource agencies into certain Level 3 evacuation zones that remain inaccessible to residents and the public. For the most up to date status, go to the  Lane County Fire Map.

Power was restored Wednesday evening to customers in the Deerhorn area and in the area from Walterville to Holden Creek Road, just west of the substation.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 16


UPDATE 7:45 PM:

Our crews made great progress today. By 8 p.m. tonight they will have restored close to 700 customers.

Crews working on Deerhorn made more progress than expected. They restored customers in the Deerhorn area working east from Hendricks Bridge past Madrone Street (their original goal) and will restore all the way to the Deerhorn Park/Bridge Street vicinity this evening.  

The area from Walterville to Holden Creek Road, just west of the substation, will also be energized by the end of operations this evening.

On Thursday, we hope to restore customers from the Holden Creek Substation east to the area near Leaburg Dam. We will continue to share all new information as it becomes available.  

UPDATE 12:45 PM:

EWEB crews have started assessment and restoration activities in the following areas:

  • Intersection of Highway 126/Camp Creek Road east to Holden Creek Road
  • Deerhorn Road area from Hendricks Bridge to east to Madrone Street

These areas have been downgraded to a Level 2 evacuation status. Please drive cautiously and keep an eye out for our crews.

Residents returning to the areas of Walterville east to Holden Creek Road as well as the Deerhorn east to Madrone Street should check any external main circuit breakers before reporting an ongoing outage. As our crews restore service, they are turning these off if accessible.


  

TUESDAY, SEPT. 15

UPDATE 2:45 PM:

Walterville area east of Highway 126/Camp Creek Road intersection, Deerhorn and areas further east remain in a Level 3 evacuation zone. We are not able to restore power to customers in these areas until the evacuation level is reduced.  

In the meantime, crews are assisting Oregon Department of Transportation and Department of Forestry by lowering power lines so their crews can remove dangerous trees. In addition, EWEB crews were able to establish a service line to the Leaburg Dam, allowing us to operate the dam roll gates and re-fill Leaburg Lake. Crews have also restored power to the McKenzie Fire Station as it is considered a critical operation.  

Service has been restored to all customers in Level 1 and Level 2 evacuation areas. 

SUNDAY, SEPT. 13

UPDATE 7 PM:

EWEB crews have restored service to all customers in the Thurston, Hayden Bridge and Cedar Flat areas. Service has been restored to Walterville east to the intersection of Highway 126 and Camp Creek Road. Other restorations completed Sunday include Camp Creek Road, Upper Camp Creek Road and Shenandoah Loop.

Areas east of the Camp Creek/Highway 126 intersection remain in the Level 3 zone.


UPDATE 3 PM:

EWEB crews are continuing power line assessments in the areas around Thurston Road, Camp Creek, Upper Camp Creek and Cedar Flat areas and expect to have most of those customers back in service today.  Heavy smoke and this morning's fog have hampered visibility, slowing the work.

We continue close coordination with Fire Command to confirm it is safe to re-energize power lines in order to mitigate the risk of additional fires and ensure the safety of emergency responders working in the lower McKenzie River areas.   

EWEB crews are assisting fire personnel who are conducting structural inspections and damage assessments. Many of the structures being inspected are blocked by downed powerlines. An EWEB tree crew is also removing danger trees and danger poles along Highway 126.

Walterville east to the McKenzie Ranger Station, including roads to the north and south of the highway, remain at a Level 3 evacuation and are not yet included in the tentative restoration plan. We will continue to share all new information as it becomes available.

Important Safety Notice:  

Many areas from Thurston east are very treacherous. There's been damage to the road,  falling trees and large rocks, limited visibility and the possibility of downed power lines.  If you see a downed power line, assume it is live and stay away.  

Some customers have inquired about the safety of our crews. We want to assure everyone that safety is our highest priority. Crews are outfitted with appropriate masks, fire retardant clothing and other specialized equipment. Given hazardous air quality, all time outdoors is being limited to the bare minimum needed to get the job done. Safety first. Always.  

SATURDAY, SEPT. 12

UPDATE 9:30 PM:

Fire conditions have changed for the better, and our crews will be able to begin some preliminary restoration activities Sunday morning. EWEB crews will also be assisting fire personnel on Sunday who have started conducting structural inspections and damage assessments. Many of the structures scheduled for inspection are blocked by downed power lines.

Thurston Road east to Highway 126 and Camp Creek Road

Parts of the Camp Creek and Mohawk Valleys have been downgraded from a Level 3  "Go" to a Level 2 "Be Set." This means we will be able to begin some limited restoration activities. Tentative plans are to re-energize the Thurston and Hayden Bridge substations. This will restore service to those on Thurston Road east to Highway 126 and Camp Creek Road. It is our hope that we will also be able to restore service in the Cedar Flat area on Sunday, but access issues and damaged equipment may delay plans.

Walterville, Upper Camp Creek Road and areas east of Partridge Lane

These areas are not yet on the tentative restoration plan. Crews will continue to look for restoration opportunities in all upriver areas and we will respond as quickly as possible.  

We want to emphasize that conditions are changing rapidly and crews still face many challenges, including low visibility, hazardous air quality, falling rocks and danger trees near or above roadways. While we hope to restore many lower McKenzie River customers over the next few days, changing conditions could impede efforts.  

We will update with new information as it becomes available.

UPDATE 11:30 AM:

EWEB is still in emergency operations status and hazardous conditions continue to hold crews in standby mode.  We do not anticipate being able to start on-the-ground assessment east of Thurston over the weekend.

Thurston, Hayden Bridge and Walterville substations have been down since Monday night, and although they physically look intact and unharmed, the transmission lines that supply them with power must be inspected before they can be re-energized.  These transmission corridors run through forested areas where there is still active fire, heavy smoke and other treacherous conditions. 

Until it is safe to send crews to assess the lines, we are unable to restore power to the substations.   

Despite heavy smoke, weather conditions are slowly improving. We hope conditions will allow us to begin assessment and inspections early next week.  

FRIDAY, SEPT. 11, 2020

UPDATE 3:30 PM:

EWEB electric crews are predicting they will not be able to conduct power line safety assessments and begin restorations to customers in the Thurston through Walterville areas until early next week. This determination is based on close, ongoing consultation with Fire Command and other emergency personnel.

At this time, hazardous conditions are preventing EWEB electric crews from making visual inspections of transmission lines that serve customers in the Thurston, Hayden Bridge, Camp Creek, Deerhorn and Walterville areas. These high voltage lines run through heavily forested areas where access is impeded by active fire and heavy smoke.

Crews will not re-energize power lines until they can be patrolled, assessed and made safe. This is part of EWEB's wildfire risk mitigation strategy. Learn more about fire and powerlines.

Crews will remain on standby throughout the weekend should conditions change. Safety of life and property is our first priority. When Fire Command assures us it is safe to enter this and other areas, we will have crews ready to go. 


UPDATE 12:45 PM:

Conditions are not yet safe enough for EWEB crews to reenergize the power lines from Thurston to Walterville.  These areas receive power from transmission and distribution lines that run through heavily forested areas. Geography and fire conditions are such that it is not safe for our crews to inspect the lines, which we must do before reenergizing. Safety of life and property is our first priority. Crews are standing by, and actively working with emergency fire personnel. When Fire Command assures us it is safe to enter the area, crews will begin assessments and restorations. 

THURSDAY, SEPT. 10, 2020


We are aware of ongoing taste and odor problems in our treated drinking water. Staff at the Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant began making adjustments to the water treatment process on Wednesday, Sept. 9 aimed at fixing the fire-related taste and odor issues. Customers are likely to notice an improvement in the next few days. In the meantime, while the water may not be as tasty as we are used to, it still meets all state and federal health standards.

Learn more.

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 2020

UPDATE 7:25 PM:

The active fire, along with hazardous weather conditions, ongoing evacuations and safety issues have thwarted our attempts to re-energize powerlines in the Thurston, Hayden Bridge, Camp Creek, Deerhorn and Walterville areas. Crews remain on standby, ready to restore power in the event the situation changes. 

We will assess damage and begin power restoration activities as soon as conditions permit. Our highest priority continues to be restoring electric service in a manner that is safe and mitigates potential wildfire risk.  

We will continue to keep residents posted over the next several days.

UPDATE 5:50 PM:

You may be wondering if EWEB's power supply is affected by the McKenzie River fire. 

First, there is no danger of a power shortage in Eugene. Eighty percent of the power EWEB delivers to our customers comes from sources other than EWEB-owned generation. Most of the power comes from the BPA system and it hasn't been impacted by the fires in Oregon.  

EWEB has three generating projects on the McKenzie. The Leaburg and Walterville projects are in the vicinity of the fire, and are not currently generating power. The Carmen-Smith hydro project is well east of the fire zone and not in danger. This project went offline on Monday night during the wind storm and because of the fire, EWEB has not tried to restore operations at Carmen-Smith. 

Even with these outages, EWEB will continue to be able to fully serve the power needs of our community.

Learn more about where your power comes from.

UPDATE 3:30 PM:

There have been a few questions and concerns about water quality since the McKenzie Fire erupted Monday night. Most of the concerns revolve around a chlorine odor or even an "ashy" taste in the drinking water coming out of your tap.

We want to assure all customers that the water drawn from the lower McKenzie River and then treated at the Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant is safe to drink.

In response to the ongoing fire, EWEB has increased monitoring of raw and treated water for pollutants related to fire impacts to ensure we identify any potential issues before they become a problem.

Learn more.

UPDATE 1:30 PM:

We are hearing some questions and rumors about plans to shut down the Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant. To be clear, EWEB has no plans to shut down Hayden Bridge. In fact, we have a private fire suppression crew on contract to provide a pumper truck and bulldozer should the need arise. EWEB will not hesitate to call for additional fire suppression assets to protect this facility which provides drinking water to our community.

UPDATE 10 AM:

Weather conditions this morning are such that it is not yet safe to re-energize powerlines in the Hayden Bridge, Camp Creek and Walterville areas. Our crews are coordinating with fire authorities, with the #1 goal being to mitigate the risk of additional fires.

We realize this is difficult for residents in the area, many of whom rely on electric pumps for wells. Please know that we will restore power as soon as conditions permit, and crews have inspected the system to confirm it is safe to re-energize power lines.

We will continue to post all new information as soon as it becomes available.  

TUESDAY, SEPT. 8, 2020

UPDATE 8 PM:

After working nearly 36 hours straight, crews are starting to wind down for the night. We will have personnel on standby throughout the night should conditions necessitate emergency response. In addition, our customer service phone lines have closed for the night and social media will not be monitored until morning.

If you lose power, please report the outage by calling 1-844-484-2300 or by texting "OUT" to TXEWEB (893932).

Crews will return at 6 a.m. and phone lines will re-open at 9 a.m.

Many thanks to all the first responders out there, and for those of you in the path of this fire, our hearts are with you. Be safe everyone.

UPDATE 7:40 PM:

There are no planned outages at this time. However, Eugene customers in forested areas, particularly the South Hills, could face preemptive electric outages tonight or early Wednesday morning to reduce wildfire risk. We would only take this action if certain criteria are met, such as wind-caused outages, 20-30 mph winds/gusts, and other high-risk conditions.

We are closely monitoring weather and power distribution system conditions throughout the service area, and we encourage customers to be prepared for the possibility of power outages. If you lose power, please report the outage by calling 1-844-484-2300 or by texting "OUT" to TXEWEB (893932).

UPDATE 5:30 PM:

Due to the expected wind speeds Tuesday night and the fire's behavior, EWEB crews will not be able to complete any planned restorations between Thurston and Walterville.  

Crews had been moving cautiously toward the Thurston and Hayden Bridge substations to determine whether fire and weather conditions might allow them to re-energize some powerlines serving those areas. There was also a plan to try to restore parts of the service area served by the Walterville Substation. But the fire continued its westward march and forced the crews back.

We are working closely with other agencies to monitor very dangerous conditions.

In the Eugene metro area, repair crews restored electric service to all customers by 3 p.m. Tuesday. However, Eugene customers in forested areas, particularly in the south, southeast and southwestern hills, could face additional electric outages Tuesday night and early Wednesday. Depending on wind, falling trees and other factors, crews could preemptively de-energize power lines to prevent a wildfire.  

If you lose power, please report the outage by calling 1-844-484-2300 or by texting "OUT" to TXEWEB (893932). 

UPDATE 2:15 PM:

Information about drinking water safety:

  • At this time, we are not experiencing any immediate risk to the water supply.
  • We are closely monitoring conditions in the McKenzie watershed, and will share any news/updates as available.
  • We will not allow contaminants into our water distribution system.
  • As part of your general emergency preparedness, we do recommend that you fill your emergency water containers, in the event that there is any disruption to our water system. When possible, fill water containers with tap water to leave store-bought bottled water available for evacuees. Learn more about storing emergency water.

UPDATE 1:30 PM:

  • Power restored to approximately 300 customers in the W. 18th and Friendly area.
  • If you are in the Eugene metro area and still without power, be sure to report the outage if you have not already done so. This will ensure you are put on the restoration plan.

UPDATE 12 PM:

  • Power restored to 70 customers in the Hilyard Street area, just south of 30th Ave.
  • Crews are continuing to work as quickly and safely as possible. At this time, we anticipate that all in-town customers will be restored by 4 p.m. today.
  • We encourage customers in the Eugene area to report your power outage if you have not already done so, to ensure you are put on the restoration plan.
  • Electric Operations personnel are actively assessing conditions in the Thurston-Walterville areas to determine when it is safe to restore power. We will share additional information as it becomes available.
  • Further up the McKenzie Valley, east of Leaburg, the Level 3 evacuation order is still in effect. We are working closely with other agencies to monitor very dangerous conditions.

UPDATE 10:50 AM:

  • Power restored to approximately 430 customers in southeast Eugene.
  • Crews completed their patrol of the Dillard feeder line and determined conditions were safe to re-energize the line.
  • We continue to closely monitor conditions. If necessary, crews will preemptively shut-off power to mitigate wildfire risk.

UPDATE 8:40 AM:

  • Approximately 3,300 customers are out of power as of this morning, with the majority of outages occurring in the areas east of Thurston and up the McKenzie River Valley.
  • Approximately 650 in town don't have service.
  • EWEB crews working overnight were able to restore more than 150 customers in south Eugene, west of Willamette Street. Crews will be working throughout the morning to restore the remaining customers in town.
  • The feeder line from Dillard Substation, which serves around 500 customers in southeast Eugene, remains offline at this time as a wildfire prevention. Crews will patrol the line again this morning and determine if it is safe to energize.

The safety of customers, crews and other first responders is our top priority. We are working closely with Lane Co. Emergency Management, U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Dept. of Forestry to monitor conditions in the McKenzie River Valley, particularly in the area east of Leaburg to Vida, where a Level 3 evacuation order has been issued. Conditions are very dangerous at this time.