About 2,000 Central Electric Cooperative members in the Tumalo area had a very warm Tuesday afternoon after a 69,000-volt power line that feeds the Tumalo substation went out, sending repair crews on a challenging, hours-long hunt for the cause. The line went down around 1:15 p.m. Jeff Beaman, member services director, said the outage was largely in Tumalo, along with areas west and south of town, north to areas adjacent to Innes Market and Marsh roads, and southeast to areas near Highway 20 and Cooley Road. It took some time for crews to narrow their search for the problem from a nearly nine-mile stretch of line to one of about two miles.

Beaman said the search was prolonged because much of the section of line is along the back lines of private property, with no road access, so crews had to reach the area on foot. Around 3:30 p.m., officials said crews had traced the outage to a section of line in the Highlands subdivision, north of Tumalo.

Beaman said power lines commonly sag when it's warm -- and in this case, it came into contact with a tree and short-circuited. He said crews had to survey the extent of damage before they could estimate when service would be restored. "This is hampered further by property owners' placement of obstacles such as fences between parcels," he added in a posting to CEC's online outage blog, where you can track updates at http://www.cec.coop/outage . Due to the outage, CED reported high call volumes and urged members to dial toll-free 1-866-459-8651 and access a recorded message providing information about the outage.

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