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Government Camp CPO Re-elects Board, Discusses Winter Storm

By Adrian Knowler

Government Camp CPO Re-elects Board, Discusses Winter Storm

Government Camp’s Community Planning Organization leaders were unanimously reinstated for another year at the group’s public meeting in February.

Board president Nick Rinard, Vice President Brett Fischer and Secretary Jake Thompson each ran unopposed at the quarterly meeting of Government Camp residents and property owners.

The meeting, which was attended by about 30 people at the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum and live on Zoom, served as a debrief session for residents to discuss the ice storm and blizzard that hit the area in January.

Residents in attendance shared stories of flooding and preparedness tips, and some vented frustration with what they perceived as a lack of communication by Clackamas County officials during and after the storm which knocked out power, water and sewer services for much of Government Camp.

Andrew Tagliafico, chair of Government Camp’s sanitary district that maintains the wastewater plant, said that the storm was a “unique moment.”

He reported that although a new generator at the sewer facility had a fuel sensor that had failed, the problem had been addressed and that the sewer plant largely survived the storm.

“Things malfunctioned in ways we hadn’t seen before,” he said at the meeting.

Hoodland Fire Marshal Scott Kline was in attendance, and said that the fire department received 28 calls about broken pipes in Government Camp in one day during the storm.

Tagliafico recommended that homeowners turn off their water, drain their pipes, and turn off the breaker to their water heater in similar future weather events to avoid damage and flooding.

Although Rinard said a representative from utility Portland General Electric had been invited to attend, no one from the utility was present, so PGE was unavailable at the meeting.

Clackamas County Director of Disaster Management Daniel Nibaour said that the county wants to improve communication with residents of unincorporated areas like Government Camp during future events.
“We want to do a better job staying in touch with Community Planning Organizations,” he told the group via Zoom. “We don’t have a good communication chain with unincorporated areas. We need to do a better job,” he said.

County officials were monitoring the situation throughout, according to Clackamas County spokesperson Scott Anderson.

According to Anderson, the county operated an Emergency Operations Center from January 12-22, and started sending resources and staff up to the Mt. Hood corridor on January 19 when the Lion’s Club in Welches was set up as a resource center.

Anderson said the county started receiving requests for aid on January 17, about 4 days after the storm first hit the area.

The Government Camp CPO meets again in May 2024.

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