Portland, OR

Wednesday in Portland: Fire in Hollywood neighborhood causes 'smoke column,' TriMet moves headquarters downtown & more

Emily Scarvie

(PORTLAND, Ore.) Hello Portlanders! It's Wednesday, Aug. 9 - Here's your daily round up of all the news happening in the City of Roses.

1. House fire causes 'black smoke column,' ruptured power line in Hollywood neighborhood

Fire crews responded to a house fire in the Hollywood neighborhood on Tuesday that caused a live power line to fall to the ground. According to investigators, the fire, located at the intersection of Northeast Sandy and 46th Avenue, started on the back deck and extended into the house. It caused a “strong black smoke column” in the area.

Crews arrived to the home around 4 p.m. Once at the scene, they discovered the back deck was so badly burned that it could no longer support the weight of anyone. Crews extinguished the exterior of the fire then began working on the flames that had extended into the attic.

While crews worked on the fire, an electrical drop line ruptured and left “a live power line on the ground with crews working nearby.” The power company later turned it off.

No occupants were in the home at the time of the fire, according to Portland Fire & Rescue. The cause of the fire remains unknown, and officials did not share which power company manages the dropped power line.

2. TriMet moves headquarters to downtown Portland, bringing hundreds of employees

TriMet is moving its headquarters to downtown Portland, bringing hundreds of workers to one main place of work for at least the majority of the week. Portland’s post-pandemic recovery ranks one of the slowest in the nation, with nearly one in five downtown offices empty.

“There was a time when an event like this would’ve been taken for granted,” Andrew Hoan, president of the Portland Business Alliance, told KOIN. “We have been through some hard times.”

Those hard times have left around 20% of Portland’s offices empty since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, TriMet is bringing 275 people back to six floors of a downtown corporate office. Employees will be required to work in the office 1-3 days a week.

3. Local cherry farmers seeking emergency aid after climate change causes third bad crop season

Following a third bad crop season as a result of climate change, Oregon cherry growers are requesting access to critical resources and federal funding from state leaders. Weather impacted this year’s cherries, cutting their typical month-long harvest season to less than two weeks.

“Never have I had a time where I had to walk away from so many cherries and it’s really just devastating,” Jeff Heater, a cherry farmer and crop consultant, told KGW. “If you don’t get a chance to pick these cherries then you miss out on your one opportunity to get an income that year. The reason I didn’t pick is because I didn’t want to borrow more money and not be able to pay it back.”

Wasco and Hood River are the top-producing cherry counties in Oregon. Many this year harvested less than 75% of their crop, while some smaller farmers left 50% or more of their cherries unpicked.

Hood River Rep. Jeff Helfrich is asked Gov. Tina Kotek to declare a state of emergency for the cherry industry, allowing access to critical resources and federal funding for farmers. Helfrich spoke with Kotek’s staff on Friday and said they’re looking into the best route forward.

More: Opera in the Park and Portland Festival Symphony take music to the people

Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow with all the latest Portland news.

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