PORTLAND, OR. — As a result of the historic and tragic wind event of Labor Day 2020, many of our fellow Oregonians suffered losses to their homes, businesses and communities. Regardless of the outcome, a trial will never fully restore what was lost. We are proud to have told the story of our incredible employees, who meet the call to service every day in support of our communities and customers and did so in the face of the preexisting, lightning caused Beachie Creek fire that roared into the Santiam Canyon causing widespread damage that weekend.
The company plans to pursue appeals, and we are confident we will prevail.
Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp serving customers in Oregon, was the first utility to develop a Wildfire Mitigation Plan in the state starting in 2018. We continue to lead in wildfire mitigation, and our plan continues to grow and evolve– which includes in-house emergency management, meteorology and data science teams and features the installation of over 300 weather stations, grid hardening, fire-risk modeling software and an enhanced vegetation management program. How utilities serve communities and customers in Oregon, and expectations for continuous and reliable electric service, will be reshaped. We are committed to working with impacted communities to ensure everyone can thrive in our collective new reality.
Wildfire remains a complex issue and the threat of wildfire continues to grow dramatically in Oregon and the West. Escalating climate change, challenging state and federal forest management, and population growth in the wildland-urban interface are substantial factors contributing to growing wildfire risk. These systemic issues affect all Oregonians and are larger than any single utility, such as Pacific Power. A holistic perspective and public-private leadership will be essential to adapt society to natural disaster risks. As we look to recent events in California that have impacted the availability of routine property insurance for residents and businesses and wildfire smoke from Canada affecting the Northeast U.S., it is critical that we all work together to protect Oregonians through constructive, enduring solutions.