Inclement weather prompts safety reminders

From: Tim Heider, Clackamas County Public Information Officer, 503-742-5911

 Media and Interested Parties

As heavy rains, strong winds, and thunderstorms pummel our region in the next few days, Clackamas County reminds residents to be careful while traveling, monitor storm drains when possible and - in case of flooding possibilities - be advised of sandbag locations.

Traveling Hazards

All travelers -- motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians - should remember that rain impacts visibility. Vehicle headlights should remain on, while bicyclists and pedestrians should be especially careful to wear reflective clothing or gear.

Many hazardous roadway conditions can occur in this type of weather. These include:

  • Missing or downed stop signs
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals
  • Tree, debris or other material on roadway
  • Potholes/sinkholes
  • Standing water/flooding

"It's important to remember that more deaths occur from flooding than from other storm-related hazards, and that more than one-half of these happen when a vehicle is driven into flood water," stated Disaster Management Director Nancy Bush. "Remember: Turn around, don't drown."

AAA also has excellent wet weather driving tips online.

Residents who spot a hazardous roadway condition that demands immediate attention can contact Clackamas County Transportation Maintenance at 503-557-6391 from Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 pm. For all other times, contact the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at 503-655-8211.

Residents who spot a non-hazardous roadway concern can report it online, email, or call 503-557-6391.

Risks to Storm Drains from Fallen Leaves

Regularly clearing storm drains of leaves and debris helps reduce flooding and possible property damage that threatens public safety. Clackamas County provides the following tips to help keep water flowing safely:

  • Look at the storm drain grates near your home or business before and after a storm, and make sure they are free of leaves and debris.
  • Use a rake or pitchfork to clear any leaves and debris from the storm drain. Do not try to remove the grate, only the debris on top of the grate. Dispose of leaves in your yard waste container or compost bin.
  • When leaves fall into the street, rake them one foot away from the curb so they won't block the path of rainwater.

If you are concerned about a possible sewage spill, flooding or pollution of any stream or ground water, please contact your local wastewater provider. You can find out who your wastewater provider is by entering your street address on the county's online CMap application and selecting "Utilities and Districts."


If emergency sandbags are needed, residents are encouraged to visit for a list of local sandbag locations.

Power Outages

It is possible that strong winds will knock out power to some areas. All calls and reports about power outages should be directed to Portland General Electric (PGE), which has a webpage at where residents can view current outages and report an outage.

Downed Power Lines

Downed power lines are also a significant concern in a windstorm. If you observe a downed power line, contact PGE at 800-544-1795.

Take extreme caution if you observe a downed power line. From the Electrical Safety Foundation International:

  • If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. The ground around power lines - up to 35 feet away - may be energized.
  • You cannot tell whether or not a power line is energized just by looking at it. You should assume that all downed power lines are live.
  • The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
  • If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 for help.
  • Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything else in contact with it by using an object such as a broom or stick. Even non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, can conduct electricity if even slightly wet.
  • Be careful not to touch or step in water near where a downed power line is located.
  • Do not drive over downed power lines.
  • If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away from your car.
  • If you must leave your car because it is on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with both the car and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the car.

For more information, members of the media may contact Public Information Officer Tim Heider at 503-742-5911 (desk) or 971-219-7271 (cell).