Corvallis’ most populated areas were without power for most of the workday Wednesday
A blown fuse and a vehicle crash cut power to the heart of Corvallis for most of Wednesday, affecting schools and businesses and slowing traffic.
Among the most impacted were businesses along Corvallis’ commercial district on Ninth Street, six schools and Oregon State University — about 11,500 Pacific Power customers in all.
The larger of two outages began at 10:44 a.m. and affected 10,864 customers in the core of the city and to the south and west in zip codes 97330, 97331 and 97333, Pacific Power spokesperson Tom Gauntt reported. Power was fully restored to all customers by 5:25 p.m.
Two fuses blew at a substation near Northwest Grant Avenue and 26th Street, Gauntt said. While replacing the fuses, workers found more damage.
“When the fuses blew, it also damaged some insulators on some nearby poles and they also have to be replaced,” Gauntt said Wednesday afternoon. “That’s why it’s going to take a little while.”
A separate power outage, affecting 780 residences in north Corvallis, began at 11:15 a.m. and was caused by a vehicle hitting a power pole, Gauntt said. Workers restored power to those customers at 12:30 p.m.
About 20 buildings at Oregon State University were left without power.
As is customary in such a case, the OSU Environmental Health and Safety personnel inspected the backup power systems of research buildings to ensure that safety electrical equipment continued to be powered, said Charles Yutzie, operations lieutenant for the department of public safety. When researchers work with chemicals, for example, electrically powered fume hoods vent the potentially dangerous gases out of the building so they don’t build up.
Some classes were cancelled because building inspections were being conducted, Yutzie said, and others were cancelled because professors didn’t want to conduct class without computers or multimedia.
Power outages were happening sporadically all over Corvallis, as well as south and west of town.
“Circuits aren’t monolithic ... for general reliability,” Gauntt said. “… It’s very possible that someone is out of power, and across the street is served by a different circuit, a different substation, and they have power.”
Although traffic lights were not working in different parts of town during the day — including busy Northwest Ninth Street during the noon hour — Corvallis police spokesperson Todd Bailey reported that there were no related vehicle crashes. But some businesses, such as the Carl’s Jr. on Northwest Ninth Street, closed because they couldn’t operate without electricity.
No information was available as of Wednesday night about the crash that caused the lesser outage.
Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center was not affected by the power outage, hospital spokesperson Jennifer Nitson said.
Although six Benton County public schools were without electricity, they maintained their regular class and bus schedules but could not use computers and other electronic education equipment. The schools were Corvallis High School, Linus Pauling Middle School, Jefferson Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Franklin Elementary and Harding Alternative School.
The Corvallis High School Open House was cancelled and will be rescheduled, said Principal Matt Boring.