All power to Portland
Welcome to the energy sacrifice zone.
Power planners in the Northwest have concocted a plan to deal with power shortages here, should they occur and they probably will.
That means rolling blackouts, timeouts from being able to flip the switch and have the lights come on.
Or the heat. Or the oven. Or the computer. Or the cash register.
About 675,000 households and businesses in California experienced these cuts last week to deal with power shortages in the Golden State.
In Oregon, the blackouts would move from neighborhood to neighborhood, city block to city block, in half-hour increments.
Hospitals, police and fire stations would be spared. So would 911 services.
That makes sense.
Also spared: MAX light rail service in Portland. Television and radio broadcast centers would maintain a steady supply of juice.
And the icing on the cake: Downtown Portland and Salem, arguably two of the larger consumers of electricity in the state.
We suppose there is an argument to be made there. Salem is the seat of state government. Portland is the center of state commerce. Radio static is nothing new to us in Eastern Oregon, but a Portland commute without a crowded radio dial would feel, well, plain crowded.
But those blackouts anticipated to take place between 6:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., the peak hours of demand will have very real impacts here, just as they would in downtown Portland.
Imagine the restaurant, unable to fire its ovens and process credit cards, or the merchant who cant ring up a sale on the register.
That hurts regardless of your ZIP code.
Fortunately, we know rural Oregonians can handle the blackouts.
Restaurant patrons wont storm out in anger. Theyll be back the next day or week or look at it as an opportunity to have a leisurely, candle-lit meal.
And merchants will scribble their sales in a ledger to ring up later.
Were not so sure Portland cooks, merchants and customers, who dont live side by side, would rise to the challenge so peacefully.
Once again, rural Oregon will help shoulder the states responsibility. Maybe our urban friends will think to thank us this time.