A malfunction at Pacific Power's Dixon Substation at Second Street and Tyler Avenue knocked out power just after 11 a.m. Friday to as many as 500 customers, said Tom Gauntt, a spokesman for Pacific Power.
He said the affected area included much of the downtown business core - especially the area of Second to Fourth streets between Harrison Boulevard and Madison Avenue. Major traffic lights went dark, including those on the Benton County side of the Harrison and Van Buren bridges.
A witness said motorists appeared to be handling the lack of traffic lights well, simply taking turns as if negotiating a four-way sign-controlled intersection. Power was restored at 12:34 p.m., but some businesses shut down, leaving a note on their doors indicating "Closed due to no power."
The Broken Yolk Cafe at 119 S.W. Third St., which usually is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, also was closed Friday, even after the power came back on amid uncertainty about when the power might be restored.
Gauntt said the 500 customers number represented the number of power meters affected, which means that many more individuals in buildings that share meters might have been affected.
In recent years, power outages in Corvallis have been associated with squirrels or birds shorting out power in the process of getting electrocuted inside power transformers. No wildlife was involved this time, Gauntt said, but the exact source and reason for the malfunction at the Dixon Substation had not been determined as of Friday afternoon.