Working On The Lines

Our local utility company, West Oregon Electric has a big job. The power lines stretch through some of the most densely forested areas of the Northwest area of Oregon.

In the 1950’s, when the power company was beginning to place poles and stretch wires to the unincorporated rural customers, costs would skyrocket with the miles of network needed. In order to curtail costs a plan was developed. Instead of following the county roads that skirted along the path of the river, shortcuts were established through meadows, across meanders of the river, through fields and farmlands. The shortcuts did the job of getting power to the people but it also caused a lot of trouble as the years went by.

The remote shortcuts are not easily accessible since they are not close to the road and many are on opposite sides of the river without year-round paths, AND the trees keep growing. Line crews are working just to keep the tall trees from growing up through the electric lines or becoming a danger as the big limbs or whole trees come down.

Utility trucks at the edge of the woods.On this day, the crew was able to get into the area with their trucks, but it was still not a simple endeavor. First they had to get into our yard, then through the electric fence into the pasture. They had to travel through the pasture and we had to open up another electric fence before they could get down to the woods where the power lines are located, but at least they didn’t have to pack all their equipment in on their backs like they do in some locations.


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