Winter Power Outages in Clark County, WA -

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors

"There was a power outage at the department store yesterday, twenty people were trapped on the escalator." - Steven Wright

We've had quite a winter so far. The weather folks haven't compiled all of the statistics, yet. Therefore it's tough to know if the frequent spells of cold temperatures, snow, freezing rain and wind are as abnormal as they feel. Regardless, it has been challenging for commuters, and many people have temporarily lost power throughout the entire Portland-Vancouver Metro area. Especially those who live in rural areas, 

This is the second year we've lived in our Multi-Generational home located in the hills above Camas-Washougal. Like most properties in a more secluded location, we have a well, septic, and a wood-stove for a back-up heat source in the event of a power outage. We've been especially grateful for our woodsheds filled with plenty of dry, seasoned firewood to get us through the recent cold spells.

This year, we have experienced two power outages, one in December, and one this past weekend. The most recent left us without power for about eight hours. It could have been worse though. We stayed warm and cozy, had plenty of water stored, and even made grilled cheese sandwiches on our wood stove. Still, you could hear cheers throughout our two level home when the lights came back on around 4:00 PM.

We were the last group of homes in Clark County to have our power restored. The freezing rain and gusty gorge winds resulted in multiple trees falling into power lines. At one point on Sunday, January, 8, 2017, there were about 4,000 people without power. Clark Public Utilities has a outages page and you can access it via cell phone to see how many other people are affected, and a likely restoration time. Although, don't pin your dreams on those estimates, ours was revised three times throughout the course of the day.

One of the most frustrating aspects when you're out of power, is the inability to run water and flush toilets on a normal basis. In most rural areas, electricity is needed to pump water into the home from a well. Therefore, it's important to keep an adequate supply of drinking water on hand at all times. Flushing toilets is discouraged too. We're told you get one flush, but it's a good idea to consult an expert to help you fully understand the best way to protect your septic system during power outages.

If you're in an area with frequent outages, a propane generator might be a good option for your household. They're pretty expensive, but might be well worth the investment. Our friends, Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 and Larry, who live in a gorgeous, but somewhat remote area in Oregon, purchased one because of frequent outages. Since we have so few, knock on wood, it's likely not the best option for our particular situation, but we'll keep you posted.

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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.

314 NE Cedar Street
Camas, WA  98607





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Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Winter brings some interesting challenges along with it.

So how do you get trapped on an escalator?  Can't you just walk down?


Jan 10, 2017 09:58 AM #1
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905. Both of you ladies have me giggling this morning. 

Jan 10, 2017 10:07 AM #2
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Debb and Bernie, one of the reasons why we set up the generator is the very one you mention about needing to have our well water system completely running all of the time. We even set up an auxiliary tank, (1,000 gals) because we ran out of water the first few weeks we lived on this older ranch property. Come to find out that all of the spigets around our 5AC were LEAKING and all water that was coming in from Fishhawk Creek, was simply leaking back into the ground! We've learned a lot of lessons becoming even more rural-living folks. We are now set up to be able to live off the grid for weeks, if need be. God forbid that should ever happen! Clark PUD probably has much more updated systems of power than the old ones that still exist through West Oregon Electric Cooperative...they suck, frankly. In 2008, it took us nine days to get our power back. That set the bar. 

Jan 10, 2017 10:09 AM #3
Jack Tenold
Caliber Home Loans, Inc. NMLS 15622 - Spokane, WA
Conventional and Reverse

First...beautiful photo. sure is snowy this year in Washington.  Power outages can sure play havoc with our comfy routines.  Glad you have an emergency plan to keep things going.  My fingers are crossed that we don't have any high winds to bring down power lines.  We had enough of that in November's big WindStorm....6 days without power.  Have a great week!   

Jan 10, 2017 10:31 AM #4
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding and Marketing


It is amazing how much we rely on electricity.  We don't often have them here, and the longest we have waited was 1/2 day..  In Napa our well, wine cellar, watering systems all all other electrically related systems would stop.  That happened more often than hereand took a lot longer to fix..  Had we stayed, we would have installed a generator.  A

Jan 10, 2017 10:35 AM #5
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Roanoke, VA
Retired and loving life

Hi Debb-Glad you didn't have to go longer than 8 hrs. That is plenty long enough. During a bad ice storm in 1995 in NY. I was without power for 6 days and my basement was flooded with about 3-4 ft of water. My hot water heater was partially submerged for that week but it didn't ruin it. The National Guard had to come pump it out. Many people in rural areas were without power for several weeks and some as long as a month to 6 weeks. It was a major ice storm.  NO fun.

Jan 10, 2017 11:03 AM #6
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Good morning, Debb -- this sounds like a unique multi-generational experience that thankfully is rarer than in many other areas.

I admit to laughing at the comment by Belinda Spillman ---- there's nothing quite like a Steven Wright joke delivered in his dry way to bring some much needed levity.   Maybe Belinda needs to consult with Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905: does that super-sized generator work on waking up sleepy brain cells too?       

And as far as blonde jokes go....I don't go there....

Jan 10, 2017 11:30 AM #7
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Debb and Bernie

From the sound of your post, and my brief watching of the weather channel, it seems your area is being hit particularly hard! It's such a challenge when bad weather intereferes  and power outages are rampant - amazing how much we depend on electricity and yet are so often not prepared.

Steven Wright's comment reminds me of tthat TV commercial when 2 people become "trapped" on the escalator, and stadnd there yelling for someone to help. LOL


Jan 10, 2017 11:49 AM #8
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Belinda Spillman Honest mistake. It's a serious topic, so I'm sure the joke was unexpected. I was trying to be clever using an obvious solution to the power outage on an escalater and likening it to some folks lack of preparation to winter storms. It's a mistake I could have easily made. ;) 

Jan 10, 2017 12:13 PM #9
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Debb, Mother Nature is really showing off from the sounds of it. Your post reminds me of our house in Leesburg growing up. We lost power for 5 days and were on a well with 4 horses...I've never hauled so much water in my life. Wasn't a week later that my Dad had someone out installing a generator! Sounds like you have been well prepared but, I hope you don't lose power again anytime soon.

Jan 10, 2017 12:26 PM #10
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Debb I'm glad your power came back on relatively soon - I've heard of folks going days if not weeks back east going without power.  When I lived in CO close to Vail we had power outages quite frequently and having the appropiate back ups in place was critical to making it through outages without to much of a hassle.  We had plenty of candles on hand - which gave us some great ambience! And the woodstove was prefect for cooking if need be. You're a true pioneering woman!!

Jan 10, 2017 01:41 PM #11
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Debb & Bernie - Mary told me about hearing about your power outage on FB. Even though we live outside of the city, we don't get many power outages longer than a few minutes, which is good because we even our gas fireplace needs power to work.

Jan 10, 2017 03:23 PM #12
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Lovely photography Debb. The troubles of Winter can really create havoc on peoples lives.

Jan 10, 2017 04:27 PM #13
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

Weather is being a real challenge across the nation. We lived in an area that had lots of power outages several years ago. Now our services are really reliable and it rarely goes out. I hope that will be the last time that happens this winter for you, Debb.

Jan 10, 2017 04:33 PM #14
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good evening Debb.  Having gone through numerous hurricanes, I am very grateful for my backup generator.  Glad the power is back on for you.

Jan 10, 2017 04:42 PM #15
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Debb, had not heard there were power outages, and so glad to hear you are prepared when you do.   This winter has been a bit more rougher this year.

Jan 11, 2017 08:20 AM #16
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - one of the greatest attributes of you is that you are always prepared to make the best of every situation with gusto and enjoyment. With that attitude, you continue to live life to the fullest and you understand that when situations arise outside of your control you always have a backup plan in place! 

In sum, it's obvious to me, power outages or not, you are a Powerhouse with many solutions!

Jan 14, 2017 11:22 AM #17
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD we lose power at least 3 times a year & I have been seriously thinking of having a natural gas generator installed that I don't need to touch...some outages have lasted for days.  I don't trust the Grid anymore with all the hacking happening & think that will be my investment well spent this year...I have town water so at least we could flush here...miss my wood stove for sure especially since I have a woodman in the family!  Glad you all are fine...terrible weather in your area this year!

Jan 14, 2017 02:55 PM #18
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REALTORS® in Clark County, WA
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