PGE Planning To Cut Power Downtown

Miles of new underground cables beneath downtown Portland streets are ready to be energized, and to bring them online, Portland General Electric will briefly interrupt electrical service to parts of downtown early on Sunday, March 10 and Sunday, March 24 beginning at 4 a.m. These needed outages are some of the final steps in the multi-year Marquam substation project, which will improve system reliability for downtown, add redundancy, strengthen the electrical grid and help create a platform for a clean energy future.

Construction for this multi-phased project began in 2017 and included building a new substation and upgrading underground equipment — some of it up to 60 years old — with the latest smart grid technologies. These updates will provide a more reliable and resilient grid to serve the downtown core and help reduce unintended power outages. It’s one of many efforts now in planning or construction to improve electric service reliability and resiliency for PGE’s 885,000 customers.

Crews need to de-energize the grid and perform some minor modifications to the system before energizing the new underground cables, which run along Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest First Avenue and serve a large section of downtown.

The work is split between two dates to avoid overloading the system, ensure crew and public safety, and avoid disruptions to residents and businesses outside of the work area.

Power to buildings, streetlights and traffic lights is projected to go off at 4 a.m. and should be restored in less than one hour.

PGE has been coordinating closely with the City of Portland, Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire & Rescue and other first responders on traffic plans, alarms and other public safety issues. Additional PGE security, contract security and Portland Police will be monitoring the downtown area during this work.

Affected dates and location

Buildings will be out of power briefly on one of these dates, depending on the location shown on the map.

  • Phase 1: Sunday, March 10, starting at 4 a.m.
  • Phase 2: Sunday, March 24, starting at 4 a.m.
  • Backup date if needed: Saturday, April 13, starting at 4 a.m. This date is just a precaution in case of severe weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

For more information about this project, visit

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