Oregon school districts deal with power outages, emergency evacuations

By Elizabeth Miller (OPB)
Sept. 8, 2020 8:22 p.m.

School districts plan to reopen Wednesday.

Several Oregon school districts postponed the first day of school Tuesday due to power outages and emergency evacuations.

Affected districts in Clackamas and Marion counties include Canby, Oregon City, Gervais, Molalla River and Colton. South of the Willamette Valley, Glide and Alsea school districts are also reporting school closures.


Cascade School District announced a delay of kindergarten, preschool, and distance learning because several staff members were evacuating due to fire danger.

Some districts won’t start school until next week. But teacher training at districts including Lincoln County and Scio is canceled or postponed.

In messages on social media, several school districts expressed plans to reopen Wednesday.

Food and technology distribution, as well as childcare, remains open at some sites.

As school continues in other districts, staff and teachers are communicating with families.


With thousands of homes without power in the Portland metro area, administrators in Portland Public Schools have told families that absences Tuesday will not be counted.

Portland outages have affected teachers and staff, too.

“Some students who have logged on today might have noticed that their teachers did not show up for a session,” according to the message from PPS.

There are currently nine PPS schools without power.

In eastern Oregon, Umatilla schools are excusing absences today. Superintendent Heidi Sipe said many students are without internet and power.

“We’re just delivering reassurance along with the meals today to be sure students know we’ll catch them up and support them when they’re able to log in again,” Sipe said in an email.

The district also had scheduled assessments at a middle school this week to evaluate student skills as the school year starts. For students who have the internet, Sipe said they can complete testing this week. For students who don’t, they will have an opportunity to reschedule.

“We’re learning how to make plans, and change plans, each and every day of 2020 so we’re just adjusting plans again,” Sipe said.

The Umatilla High School gym was available to evacuees Monday night as a brush fire impacted some parts of the county. Superintendent Heidi Sipe said about 16 families showed up, though several stayed in their cars until they were able to return home.

Oregon Coast Community College is also closed Tuesday due to highway closures, power outages and local fires.