A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

It’s to keep our power on …

Written August 14th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Troy Handy gets ready to take down a dead tree on Powers Avenue on Tuesday.

Trimming branches above power lines is not the only thing that has to be done from time to time. Sometimes, as in this case, the whole top of a dead tree has to come down.

A crew from Trees Inc., a contractor for Pacific Power, has been working in North Albany for a couple of weeks. On Tuesday, they got to Powers Avenue, where I had a front-row seat. And I was impressed by the skill they showed in taking the top off a big old conifer that had been dead for years.

They had to thread the aerial bucket through the gap between a Comcast cable below and the electric wires above, then swing it out nearly as far from the truck as it would go.  Troy Handy, of Cottage Grove, was the man in the bucket. As I hope the video below shows, he expertly chainsawed the top so that — naturally — it fell away from the wires and from him.

This old snag was a potential danger. A strong blow might have thrown it across the power lines in any of the next few winters.  Not along ago, the top of a live sequoia across the street snapped off, and it was a good thing it didn’t do any damage when it came down.

This crew, one of them told me, works for Pacific Power in towns from the foothills of the Cascades to Lincoln City, coming through different locations every two or four years depending how fast the trees grow.

There are power outages every time there’s a strong storm, especially in winter. It would be worse if it wasn’t for this work. (hh)

[youtube video=”2qsOhOv-tqI”]


8 responses to “It’s to keep our power on …”

  1. J. Jacobson says:

    Make America Great Again.
    Stop Chain Saw Migration.

  2. William Ayers says:

    As they run out of trees to cut, the parameters of what constitutes a “dangerous tree” continues to change. Those damn trees just aren’t (in reality) growing fast enough to continue to pose a real threat. At least, not since the last pass through town. That’s O.K. ….we’ll cut ’em down anyway! Inflation takes form in insidious ways.

    • Diane says:

      Mr. Ayers,
      I am curious. What experience and/or education have you that qualifies you to discern what does or does not characterize a dangerous tree? A dead tree of that stature is, indeed, a dangerous tree for multiple reasons, as mentioned in the article. Live trees, as well, require maintenance in order to avoid formidable mishaps. When the boughs or legs are left to grow above, over, or through powerlines, there are inherent risks. Especially in the winter months when we experience strong winds, snow, torrential rain, or freezing rain. The trees they take down or cut back are the ones that, otherwise, could fall into power lines which can cause not only inconvenient power outages but fires and possibly electrocution to any unfortunate soul who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as well. Even if they don’t hit the power lines, I’m certain you would not be contented to happen upon a tree or large branch in the roadway or atop your vehicle when you have somewhere to go. These men are not decimating our forests and wildlife. They are not removing trees without discretion. These brave men are, quite literally, risking their lives every day to keep people like you and me safe. I for one am grateful for their service and hard work.

  3. billh says:

    Those Trees Inc folks are amazing, I watched a couple of them take down a big tree using all safety precautions and still they looked skilled and graceful as they swung through the tree, roped the limbs, sawed them off and dropped them in a bit pile. Watching them feed the hog it was like a dance. Very dangerous job but those guys are pros.

  4. Diane says:

    Impressive work! Takes a hell of a man!

  5. Doug Klinkebiel says:

    You post a story about a guy literally risking life and limb (no pun intended) so that our energy flow can continue uninterrupted, and yet people still make it political. I don’t know how you do it. If some people didn’t have something to bitch about they wouldn’t have a life at all, I guess. I would hate to be that unhappy. But keep it up, Hasso. And thanks for your interesting stories and insights.

    However, I am curios about one thing: If it was dead, did they bring the entire tree down?

  6. Curious Citizen says:

    Thanks for the article and video!
    By the way, our power has gone off for one or two seconds at a time several times since we got the smart meter. We have to reset our clocks, etc. I don’t remember this happening as often before the smart meter.


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