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Temps warm, but widespread outages and road closures remain

A vehicle navigates an ice-covered street intersection
Rebecca Hansen-White
Traffic was light in downtown Eugene on Wednesday morning, as most streets were still covered with ice and standing water. Here, a driver navigates through the intersection of Broadway and Olive.

For the latest closings in the KLCC listening area, visit our  Closings page.

Temperatures have warmed above freezing, but many in Lane County are without power Wednesday morning, and roads are extremely slick.

Late Tuesday evening, Gov. Tina Kotek declared a State of Emergency for Lane County. This follows a declaration earlier Tuesday by the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

“Lane County has suffered extensive damage as a result of the winter storm conditions that we’re seeing across Oregon,” Kotek said in a press release. “This emergency declaration will support the county in accessing critical federal resources to aid in reconstruction and recovery efforts. My office is monitoring the ongoing weather conditions and will continue to support local communities in their response and recovery efforts.”

Most schools in the Willamette Valley are closed, including some districts that had originally announced a two hour delay.

As of 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, more than 36,000 customers were without power in Lane County. That includes people who were still without power from Saturday's ice storm, and people who lost power during Tuesday evening's ice storm.

Utilities say even as temperatures warm, they still face many obstacles to restoring service, including large trees that have closed roads.

"Last night we lost a lot of progress we had made," said Jeff Jones, the general manager of Blachly-Lane County Electric Coop in an update Wednesday morning. "We are back up to 1,600 people out of power. We expect restoration to take several days for our system. We ask people to stay off Highway 36 and 126 if possible. Crews will be in the roads making repairs."

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”