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Downtown Philomath

Power was out in much of Philomath for more than 45 minutes on Thursday.

The lights went out at homes and businesses in a large swath of town about 12:40 p.m., apparently as the result of a problem with a transformer on South 15th Street, according to City Manager Chris Workman.

Several traffic signals along Main and Applegate streets, which carry busy Highway 20/34 through the heart of Philomath, were knocked out by the power outage.

Workman said a repair crew from Pacific Power worked to reroute electricity around the damaged transformer to restore service.

Those efforts appeared to bear fruit at 1:36 p.m., when Workman said the lights came back on at City Hall.

Philomath Fire & Rescue Capt. Rich Saalsaa said he witnessed problems at intersections, estimating that 90 percent of motorists were "cruising at speed without stopping."

The fire department's engine was returning from the call to the transformer incident.

"People waiting to cross the street were pretty much out of luck," he said. "We saw several near misses with people on 13th attempting to pull out and cross or turn onto Main."

In such situations, motorists are supposed to treat those intersections as four-way stops. Philomath Police did not receive any calls involving traffic incidents.

Pacific Power on its website expected power to be fully restored by 7 p.m. Thursday evening.

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 Brad Fuqua of the Philomath Express contributed to this story.

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