OTEC crew

A crew from Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative helps restore power to residents in Marion County.

Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) has sent a five-man crew and a superintendent to assist residents left without power due to wildfires that devastated the town of Detroit in Marion County and parts of the surrounding area.

According to a press release from OTEC, the group left Saturday afternoon to help crews from Consumer Power Inc. (CPI) restore power to its service territory.

As of 6 p.m. Saturday, more than 96% of CPI’s members remain without power in eastern Marion County.

The OTEC employees who volunteered to travel across the state are:

• Chris Peppers, journeyman lineman from Baker City

• Casey Mitchell, journeyman lineman from Baker City

• Pat McCluskey, senior district superintendent

• Travis Smart, journeyman lineman from La Grande

• Chris Dieter, foreman from John Day

• Devan Attleberger, journeyman lineman from Burns

“We are thankful to be able to send crews to Marion County and neighboring areas if needed to help get the lights back on,” Mike Pommarane, OTEC’s director of operations, said in the press release.

Pommarane said the request for help came through a mutual aid agreement with other Oregon cooperatives through the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative network.

According to a press release, before committing resources to mutual aid requests, each co-op ensures it has ample crews available for all local needs. That includes routine maintenance and dealing with any local outages.

Because OTEC has available resources, Pommarane said it was an easy decision to send a crew to help in Marion County.

“It’s a perfect example of co-op helping co-op,” said Pommarane.

The OTEC crew could be helping repair power for up to a week and possibly.

“When we asked for volunteers for this trip, our employees recognized the gravity of the situation and stepped up to help,” said Pommarane. “This shows how serious our employees took an assignment like this, knowing they were volunteering to be away from their homes, their families for a significant length of time.”

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