Tow-truck smashup in Lents closes SE Woodstock Boulevard

While no one appeared to have been injured in this wreck, it sure did leave a mess, and an extended blockage of traffic on this outer East Portland street …

SE Woodstock Boulevard is closed, after a crash leaves sparking power wires dangling on the ground.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

At 6:09 p.m. on the rainy evening of Monday, October 30, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were dispatched to a spot just east of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, on Woodstock Boulevard, for what was reported as a hit-and-run accident.

Arriving officers found a wooden utility pole snapped off at its base, and a Chrysler Pacifica SUV with major rear-end damage.

Here’s a look through a telephoto lens, along SE Woodstock Boulevard, where cables and wires sag when a wooden utility pole has been snapped in two by a truck.

Thick fiber-optic cables, as well as electric power and telephone lines, drooped onto the northern sidewalk, where the part of the pole supporting them fallen to the ground.

Within 20 minutes, a Portland General Electric (PGE) “Eagle Crew” quick-response truck was at the scene. The driver carefully untangled the still-energized electric power lines from the other cables. Then, chainsaw in hand, he began cutting away the shattered pole.

At first, it seemed that this SUV had backed into the utility pole at high speed – but looks were deceiving. It had actually been parked, at the time of the smashup.

Using an insulated “hot stick”, this PGE crew member untangles still-energized electric power wires from the nearby communication cables.

“Upon investigation, officers found that a tow-truck had struck and knocked down the power pole, causing it to fall on the parked car,” PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen later told East Portland News.

“PGE responded to fix the pole and raise the lines, which obviously takes a while and required closure of the street,” he observed.

This PGE worker uses a chainsaw to cut the shattered utility pole into pieces, ready for it to be removed and replaced by a new one, later that evening.

According to police reports, no one was injured. And it turned out not to be a hit-and-run. Apparently, the driver of the tow-truck had simply backed a safe distance away from the seriously sagging power lines, after the crash.

“Mechanical failure is mentioned as a possible cause of the incident; no arrests or citations have been issued,” Sergeant Allen said.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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