Wild wind blows over trees and trucks

See two outer East Portland incidents blamed on this week’s powerful windstorm …

Gusts of wind blow over a tree, and knock down power lines that drape over this minivan, in the Centennial neighborhood.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After record-setting rain inundated the eastside this month, a powerful windstorm blew through the area on December 21.

Throughout the afternoon, the fast-moving storm brought sustained wind speeds of 39 mph – with a peak gust of 55 mph at Portland Airport at 1:56 p.m.

While surveying the area, East Portland News didn’t come across noteworthy damage, although tree boughs littered the streets. However, two significant incidents did take place on the eastside as a result of the storm.

At 11:42 a.m. that morning, a falling tree brought down electrical power lines, briefly trapping the driver of a minivan, along SE 143rd Avenue between Market Street and 142nd Place in the Centennial neighborhood.

Even after the sun sets, electrical wires remain draped on and around the minivan.

“I talked with the driver, and she was okay,” reported neighbor Frank Grinder, who was out walking his dog later that evening. “I heard a loud crack, and saw a flash of light, and came out to look.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers and Portland Fire & Rescue firefighter/paramedics responded to the scene and cordoned off the street.

PGE was out to assess the situation, but left, saying they’d return later to restore power to the neighborhood, which they did.

18-wheeler blown off Marine Drive

A powerful gust of wind blows this tractor-trailer right off NE Marine Drive, west of the I-205 Bridge. Portland Police Bureau photo

Drivers on NE Marine Drive got a start when a gust of wind blew a tractor-trailer rig off the road at 1:14 p.m., also on December 21

“The tractor-trailer was blown off the roadway, toward the Columbia River,” explained PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The 18-wheeler came to rest on its side between the roadway and the bike path.

Emergency first responders closed off NE Marine Drive from 33rd Avenue to 122nd while they looked over the crash scene and tended to the truck’s driver.

Wreckers upright the truck, toppled by a gust of wind. Portland Police Bureau photo

“Officers and medical personnel arrived and determined that the truck driver was not injured in the crash,” Simpson said.

It took hours for a pair of heavy-duty tow trucks to winch both the tractor and trailer back into an upright position, so they could be towed away.

The road reopened about 4:45 p.m. that afternoon, by which time the big winds were dying down.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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