Portland, OR

Portland Daily Round Up: Heavy rain causes power outages for thousands, ODOT shuts down stretch of I-84 due to weather

Emily Scarvie

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By Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Monday, Jan. 3 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. Winter weather knocks out power for thousands of Oregonians

Thousands of Oregonians are without power due to heavy rain in the Willamette Valley and continued snowfall in the Gorge on Monday morning. Around 6:30 a.m., nearly 100 outages affecting 6,000 Portland General Electric customers were reported. PGE has so far restored power for nearly 2,000 customers. Pacific Power had over 14,000 customers affected by outages and has restored power for over 2,000.

Downed power lines were reported on West Powell in Gresham early Monday. Downed power lines can be charged and very dangerous. Anyone who sees one should stay far away and report it to PGE.

2. ODOT shuts down stretch of I-84 due to 'blizzard-like conditions'

Due to “blizzard-like conditions,” the Oregon Department of Transportation has shut down a 50-mile stretch of I-84 from Troutdale to Hood River on Monday. Troutdale is experiencing heavy rain and according to ODOT, they’re dealing with treacherous conditions resulting in multiple crashes and limited visibility 28 miles east.

ODOT said crews are treating the roads but it’s been difficult to keep up with the weather due to blizzard-like conditions. State Route 14 is also closed in both directions on the Washington side from Washougal to Salmon River.

3. Portland nonprofit that assists homeless families receives $2.5M grant from Jeff Bezos fund

Portland Homeless Family Solutions, a local nonprofit that serves more than 1,000 kids and their parents each year, received a $2.5 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to help end homelessness. The initiative was launched by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in 2018 to fund nonprofits providing assistance to families experiencing homelessness. The Portland nonprofit, which is one of 32 organizations selected by the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, will use the funding over the course of five years to serve even more families.

“I think housing is a basic human right and the solution to homelessness,” Portland Homeless Family Solutions executive director Brandi Tuck told KGW. “While it can include things like shelter, organized camp, the solution to homelessness is helping people move back into housing.”

4. Schools concerned about omicron variant as students return to classes

Students at all levels of education are resuming classes on Monday after the holiday break and district leaders are preparing for different scenarios as COVID-19 cases spike due to the omicron variant. In both Oregon and Washington, most children ages 5-11 aren’t fully vaccinated.

The University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University are all resuming in-person and remote classes on Monday. UO and OSU are both requiring students and faculty to get boosters. PSU has a vaccine requirement in place for students and staff and is offering boosters and vaccines at the Center for Student Health.

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