A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Substation security: No climbing that fence

Written June 12th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The metal fence around Pacific Power’s expanded Hazelwood substation on Southwest 17th Avenue.

Odd little things I see from the bike strike me as noteworthy sometimes. One of them is the fence around the construction site of the Hazelwood electric substation in southwest Albany.

Pacific Power is expanding and rebuilding the substation for about $4 million. Construction started last fall and is scheduled to be completed by December this year. The company said the project was needed to improve the reliability of its system in the Albany-Corvallis area and to accommodate growth.

What I noticed about the fence as I was riding past on Friday evening was that it’s not your typical chain-link type. Instead, it appears to be one of the anti-climb and anti-cut types of  metal mesh you can see online when you root about a bit for “security fencing.”

A determined intruder — determined and stupid enough to risk electrocution — could probably scale a chain-link fence, even one with three strands of barbed wire angling outward of the perimeter. But in the kind you see here, the holes are too small to grab or stick your feet in.

And yet, the mesh is surprisingly transparent, as you can see in the shot below:

Closest to the viewer, it looks almost as if the fence isn’t there at all.

When you stand on 17th Avenue, by the way, this expanded substation looks gigantic. I don’t remember the height being mentioned as an issue when the Albany Planning Commission held a hearing and then approved a permit for this project last July.

This is not the only big change in their surroundings that residents and owners along this section of 17th Avenue face. They’re also about to lose Hazelwood Park, next to the expanded substation and behind the houses on the south side of the street.

The city council has voted to put the partially wooded park up for sale, and proposals on that are tentatively set to come up when the council meets on July 14. (hh)

2 responses to “Substation security: No climbing that fence”

  1. George Zakrzewski says:

    What a cabal: City Council, Planning Commission and Pacific Power – a powerful trifecta well-tuned for this sort of thing – aligning for reasons never explained. Keep digging, Hasso!

  2. James Engel says:

    Why not just “electrify” the fence? All that’s needed is a good tingle to deter. That way it would be that long ago challenge amongst boys in the country… “betcha won’t pee on that wire!!..


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