ODOT allows drivers on Highway 58 to get to and from Oakridge

Hundreds of trees had fallen onto the highway and crews were out on Wednesday afternoon with chainsaws and heavy equipment clearing the road.

Posted: Feb 27, 2019 6:47 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2019 11:44 AM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Transportation escorted drivers through a dangerous section of Highway 58 between Lowell and Oakridge on Wednesday, giving residents in Oakridge a chance to get out of town and letting others check on loved ones.

Paul Ferrigno Jr. came from Salem to check on his family in Oakridge and brought supplies, including food, gas, chainsaws and generators.

"My mom is in the most remote location of the people I'm concerned about," Ferrigno said. "I'm just getting a few sporadic text messages out and don't seen to be receiving any of my messages through."

Hundreds of trees fell on the highway, and crews were out on Wednesday afternoon with chainsaws and heavy equipment clrearning the road.

Inside the city of Oakridge, things were looking grim. The Ray's Food Place grocery store was open but had been without power since Sunday and items like meat and dairy had spoiled. Employee Mary Thatcher said they plan to stay open for as long as they can but their supplies are running low.

RELATED: LANE COUNTY HELPING RURAL COMMUNITIES HIT BY WINTER STORM

"We're out of propane, we're out of water and milk, everything is almost gone," Thatcher said. "We're doing what we can do. "

Meanwhile, some Oakridge residents are hitting the road to get out of town. George Parker said he feels they have been forgotten by state and county leaders.

"There is an airport, bring in the national guard, bring in some fuel and food for the kids," Parker said. "It's just ridiculous, so many people are freezing and there is no help."

At last check, it was unclear if ODOT would be offering access up to Oakridge on Thursday on Highway 58 and there is no word on just when the highway will return to normal.

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