May 23, 2024

These Oregon fire victims lost everything. Is PacifiCorp responsible?

Judie Wesemen, 82, now lives in a camp trailer on her son’s property in Glide. She is suing Oregon's second-largest utility, PacifiCorp, for damages tied to the Archie Creek fire in 2020. (Thomas Boyd/)Thomas Boyd/Special to the Oregonian

Judie Weseman was in shock, spinning in circles in the southern Oregon home she and her husband had rented for 42 years, the place they’d raised their family and expected to live out their days.

Terrified and nauseous, she didn’t know what to do, whether she’d ever be back or what to take. Her husband was out front crying, his hands shaking so violently he couldn’t hitch their 24-foot trailer to the RV.

It was the morning of Sept. 8, 2020. The Archie Creek fire, a whiff of smoke only hours before, was now a voracious beast. The wind whipped inferno, bellowed by the historic Labor Day windstorm, had raged down the North Umpqua River in mere hours and was threatening to overrun their home. “Get out now,” they were told.

They escaped. But in the end, everything burned. Their home. Their history. Their hope.

Now 2 ½ years since the catastrophic Labor Day fires scorched wide swaths of the state, thousands of pages of legal filings reviewed by The Oregonian/OregonLive reveal the most detailed picture to date of what allegedly went wrong before and during one devastating blaze, Archie Creek, and the lengths PacifiCorp is going to fight culpability in that and other infernos.

Lawsuits blaming three utility companies for failing to deactivate electric lines amid the windstorm are moving through the court system at a glacial pace, leaving thousands of victims in a debilitating state of financial and emotional uncertainty.

Bob Weseman won’t ever know the outcome. The 79-year-old fell into a deep depression, stopped eating and became a haggard shell of himself. He died six months later, a victim, his wife is convinced, of profound heartache and despair after the fire.

The Labor Day blazes burned more than 1.2 million acres in Oregon, destroyed upwards of 5,000 homes and structures, and claimed nine lives. Many victims lost everything. Some had adequate insurance to move on or begin rebuilding, though they’ve faced steep inflation in building prices, a shortage of contractors, permitting problems, and still have substantial economic losses that weren’t covered. Others were uninsured or grossly underinsured and are now living in limbo, unable to rebuild or resume their lives as the lawsuits drag on.

In the third winter since the fire, 82-year-old Judie Weseman is living with and home schooling her adopted daughter, a still-traumatized 13-year-old, in an RV parked in her son’s driveway. Their $45,000 renters’ insurance settlement is a memory, gone in continuing payments on the RV, the furniture they’d purchased months before the fire, her husband’s truck, and monthly bills such as $700 for propane during January’s arctic snap.

“Nothing will ever be the same,” she said. “Everything changed for us with the fire.”

Judie Wesemen, 82, and her 13-year-old adopted daughter, Winter, prepare dinner inside the trailer they live in following the Archie Creek fire of 2020. (Thomas Boyd/)Thomas Boyd/Special to the Oregonian

Two Lane County utilities face lawsuits but PacifiCorp is the primary defendant in litigation stemming from the fires. The Portland-based utility, Oregon’s second-largest, didn’t turn off the power to any of its 600,000 customers during the windstorm and its lines have been implicated in six separate blazes: the Echo Mountain complex near Lincoln City; the Santiam Canyon fires east of Salem; the South Obenchain fire near Eagle Creek; the Two Four Two fire near Upper Klamath Lake; the Slater fire that started near the California border and burned into Oregon; and the Archie Creek fire along the North Umpqua.

While none of the utilities being sued has acknowledged they caused fires, PacifiCorp is the only one to date that has been found likely at fault by government investigators, and the only utility that has settled a related lawsuit with individual victims, in both cases in the Archie Creek fire.

Independent investigations by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Douglas Forest Protective Association have determined that PacifiCorp equipment caused or likely caused three separate Archie Creek ignitions at locations miles apart. The BLM investigated one of those fires and determined it was caused when PacifiCorp employees reenergized a power line with a tree on top of it that had been downed by the storm. Employees didn’t fully patrol it first to ensure it wasn’t a hazard, a breach of company policies, the lawsuit claims.

In November, days before it was set to go to a jury trial, PacifiCorp settled the first lawsuit filed by two families to determine its liability in the Archie Creek fire. But the settlement included no admission of liability by the utility, and its payouts are confidential.

A highly profitable monopoly regulated by the state, PacifiCorp reported combined earnings of $1.8 billion in 2021 and 2022. It is a subsidiary of billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate that has seen its stock price soar more than 40% since the fires, adding more than $150 billion to its market value.

Any corporation’s first obligation is to protect its shareholders’ interests, and PacifiCorp’s parent company has told investors the potential damages from losing fire lawsuits, net of insurance recoveries, could be $200 million or higher. But individual victims of the Archie Creek fire alone are suing for $390 million in economic losses while seven timber companies are seeking $195 million.

Those fire victims are also seeking non-economic damages for their emotional distress. And if a jury found that the company showed a “reckless indifference” to the health and safety of residents, it could award punitive damages on top of that, significantly increasing potential payouts.

PacifiCorp and its employees have not denied that its equipment caused the Archie Creek ignitions, but many workers have said in legal filings that the origins are unknown and they have no opinion about what started them. The company denies it was negligent, citing its extensive investments in tree trimming, devices that can interrupt the flow of power if a problem is detected, and its extensive wildfire mitigation plans.

Providing safe and reliable power is PacifiCorp’s top priority, the utility said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive, adding that it “strongly believes that it acted reasonably” during the historic windstorm and “our hearts go out to all those affected” by the Labor Day fires.

The utility blamed the time frame of the lawsuit partially on attorneys for the plaintiffs and said it denied that it is trying to “unfairly delay resolution of claims brought by fire victims,” noting that court cases of this magnitude take time.

“We recognize that no two victims are alike in their experiences and their losses, and we are seeking to recognize this through reasonable resolution, where appropriate,” the utility added. “PacifiCorp provides an essential public service in communities throughout Oregon, and we remain committed to resolving these claims in a just and efficient manner.”

Robert Julian, one of the lead attorneys for the Archie Creek victims, has been deeply involved in wildfire litigation against Pacific Gas & Electric. The California utility’s equipment was responsible for the devastating 2018 Paradise fire, which ultimately bankrupted the company, and many other of that state’s most destructive wildfires.

He said PacifiCorp’s actions before and during the Archie Creek fire, coupled with what he believes is its legal obstructionism since, make Pacific Gas & Electric look “like a choirboy compared to PacifiCorp.”

Among other allegations made by attorneys for the Archie Creek fire victims: PacifiCorp or its employees have falsified evidence about starting one blaze, destroyed equipment and vegetation related to another fire without notifying plaintiffs in advance, and hidden damaged equipment from a third ignition from government investigators, according to court filings.

PacifiCorp has disputed those claims.

The company has also sought to keep jurors from seeing the various government investigations into the causes of the Archie Creek ignitions, plus state audits that found its tree trimming program was deficient, claiming they are hearsay and would be prejudicial, legal filings show. And it has aggressively sought to withhold what it knows about the origins of the fire through a privileged investigation, denying access to key employees’ work and investigations after the fires and limiting the questions they answer in depositions by asserting what plaintiffs allege are expansive applications of attorney-client privilege.

The company faces similar claims and has allegedly used similar tactics in a class action lawsuit filed in Multnomah County on behalf of several thousand victims of four of the other Labor Day fires. That case is scheduled to go to trial April 24.

In December, Judge Steffan Alexander granted a motion to compel testimony from the utility’s lead claims investigator, and wrote that he was “troubled by PacifiCorp’s approach to discovery depositions, the Court’s orders on the scope of deposition testimony, application of the attorney-client privilege, [and] the timeline for disclosure of documents.”

Alexander declined to sanction the company at the time, but last week, plaintiffs’ attorneys in the Multnomah County case renewed their call for penalties against the utility for “repeatedly violating discovery orders” to prevent them from obtaining evidence about the cause of the fires. As an example, they said the utility had only recently disclosed – nearly seven months after a court deadline – internal company chat messages in which a fire data scientist told a senior transmission engineer, “the fires near our service territories are right underneath our lines....”

Meanwhile, since settling the first Archie Creek lawsuit days before it was set to go to trial in November, PacifiCorp’s attorneys have claimed they won’t be available to try a consolidated case for another 215 families and seven timber companies in Douglas County until April 2024, and are pushing for a multipart court process that could drag out for years.

Weseman said PacifiCorp’s legal maneuvering is exacerbating fire victims’ ongoing trauma, and that the company’s employees have an ethical obligation to the communities they allegedly destroyed.

“It’s as if we’re nothing to them,” said Weseman, who is seeking more than $1 million in damages from PacifiCorp. “They don’t see us as human. They see us as a dollar sign on their bottom line. I believe they’d like to wait until some of us older people just die so they don’t have to deal with us.”

‘Failure of power line infrastructure’

PacifiCorp chose not to cut off power to its customers during the Labor Day 2020 windstorm and, according to claims in the lawsuit, removed equipment and evidence from areas where subsequent blazes likely began.

The impending winds -- with gusts projected at up to 50 mph in some areas -- had triggered urgent Red Flag forecasts from the National Weather Service and a dire warning from the utility’s own contract meteorologist. But PacifiCorp had never conducted a so-called “public safety power shutoff,” it wasn’t required by state regulators, and the utility has described it as a measure of last resort.

Other utilities did cut power: Portland General Electric issued a pre-emptive blackout for customers near Mt. Hood. Consumer’s Power blacked out customers in the Santiam Canyon. Utilities in California did the same.

In southern Oregon, the combined incident called the Archie Creek fire involved three separate ignitions. Each now factors into claims that PacifiCorp was negligent.

The plaintiffs’ theory, based on operational data from PacifiCorp’s system and damaged equipment discovered after the fire, is that the first two fires started about 12:02 a.m. on Sept. 8, when a tree crashed into a high-voltage power line that PacifiCorp operates near a hydroelectric facility 60 miles east of Roseburg. No fire resulted, but the lawsuit alleges that produced a spike of electricity that pulsed eastward from near Roseburg, racing up the transmission line back toward the site of the fault.

On that path, the lawsuit alleges, the electrical spike flowed through sets of aluminum clamps called “wedge connectors” used to link spans of wire running between transmission towers at French Creek, north of the town of Glide, and at Archie Creek, about 15 miles farther east up the North Umpqua River.

The lawsuit claims the connectors were corroded before the fire and PacifiCorp failed to adequately maintain them. During the power surge, the clamps and conductors they tied together overheated, melted and dropped molten metal to the ground, igniting the two fires simultaneously, attorneys for the plaintiffs claim.

At French Creek, firefighters from the Douglas Forest Protective Association and landowners were eventually able to contain the fire at 500 acres – nothing less than heroic amid the winds.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit contend that damaged wedge connectors used to connect power lines at French Creek and Archie Creek overheated during a power surge and dropped molten metal to the ground, starting fires at those sites.

But in the days after the fire, PacifiCorp crews cut down and replaced the damaged equipment there without informing investigators, the lawsuit claims. The damaged clamps only came to light in response to a discovery request for the lawsuit in late 2021, when PacifiCorp revealed it had damaged equipment that the plaintiffs’ lawyers could inspect. The company later provided photos of the damaged equipment still in place that a lineman had taken with a drone days after the fire.

At Archie Creek, Forest Service investigators determined the origin of the fire was beneath a PacifiCorp transmission tower. Its investigators were able to retain and secure some of the damaged equipment for further analysis, including wedge connectors and sections of line from the transmission tower in question that were later examined with high power microscopes.

“Physical evidence indicates a failure of power line infrastructure which likely ignited receptive fuels,” the Forest Service wrote in a report that PacifiCorp sought to block from becoming evidence in last year’s lawsuit settled before trial.

Court filings also claim PacifiCorp cut down about a dozen tall trees close to the ignition area after the fire and didn’t preserve the evidence, then destroyed a section of the transmission line that Forest Service investigators didn’t collect.

PacifiCorp hasn’t denied that it cut down hazard trees as it sought to safely restore power to the area after the fire, or that it destroyed the transmission lines. But its lawyers have said in court filings that the relevant connectors and sections of line from the site were preserved by the Forest Service, and that storing several miles of transmission lines would have required the company to rent a warehouse for equipment that it had no indication was relevant to the fires.

If damaged connectors did cause the two ignitions, it would not be the first time for PacifiCorp. An investigation by the Oregon Department of Forestry of the 2010 Bordeaux fire in Medford determined that melted connectors on PacifiCorp lines started that fire. But according to employees deposed in the Archie Creek lawsuit, that didn’t prompt any action by the utility to inspect or replace corroded connectors on other lines.

In a deposition, Chris Canty, a PacifiCorp line patroller for the Roseburg district, said there had been no prior inspections specifically targeting wedge connectors along the North Umpqua. He said such equipment tends to fail over time, and he admitted that the connectors at French Creek looked like they had been corroded for some time before the fire, but that PacifiCorp’s approach was to replace them after they fail.

Canty said contractors perform visual inspections of the equipment from the ground every six years, and that they flew the lines in a helicopter once a year, but “you’d have to have good eyes to see that out of a helicopter.”

Infrared inspections can detect thermal hotspots on equipment to identify impending failures, but Canty said PacifiCorp employs infrared scanning only in areas deemed to be at extreme risk of wildfire. The company didn’t classify the North Umpqua as such an area, according to his deposition, despite previous power line fires there and pleas from local fire officials to do so.

When PacifiCorp reviewed its wildfire mitigation plans at a meeting of Douglas County fire personnel in June 2019, Rick Harvey, a unit supervisor for the local forest protection agency, said he told a PacifiCorp official that the North Umpqua should be included in the areas designated for preemptive power shutoffs because of the long history of power-line-caused fires in the area.

In a deposition for the lawsuit, he said the official effectively brushed him off, responding that “bitchy people” might object, presumably over the inconvenience of power shutoffs.

‘Like you never existed before’

Cheryl Niquette and Jerry Schwartz stand in what remains of their dream home in Glide. January 26, 2023 Beth Nakamura/Staff

The third ignition along the North Umpqua, and one fire victims claim demonstrates the utility was grossly negligent and showed conscious indifference to the health and safety of residents, took place the same morning five miles east of the town of Glide, at Star Mountain.

Cheryl Niquette and Jerry Schwartz moved to their 11-acre property on Star Mountain Lane in 1991 and spent more than two decades operating a pizza place in Glide. They plowed their profits and considerable artistic abilities into a labor of love, creating a personal paradise nestled deep in the woods.

“The thing we built was a piece of art,” said Niquette, 68. “It was so beautiful, such a treasure.”

The night before the fire, they had just put the finishing touches on their cedar shingles and back deck, where they’d sit in the evening listening to crickets and frogs in their pond. Pictures from before the fire show a Craftsman jewel box customized with intricate trim, marbleized epoxied floors, massive beams milled on site and bracketed with Schwartz’s metalwork, with his distinctive artwork nestled under the eaves.

Next door was a three-story studio and shop that neighbors described as a museum. It was stuffed with collections of antique lunch pails, toys, oriental rugs, all their tools and 200 pieces of Schwartz’s Native American-style art – a “retirement account” they planned to sell at summer festivals. There were seven other outbuildings and a 30-foot Airstream trailer they used as a guesthouse for visitors.

On the morning of the fire, the power had gone out, and they walked down their long driveway to investigate. As they reached the road, they saw smoke down the hill. They were retreating to their house when an official-looking person in a truck pulled up and told them, “You have to get out now. There’s a fire at the bottom of the hill.”

They escaped 10 minutes later with their pets, two vehicles and a random assortment of personal belongings packed in a panic. As they drove down Star Mountain Lane, the fire was burning on both sides, and blowing uphill toward their home.

Today, their property is a lunar landscape littered with slash, trash and invasive weeds. Eleven acres of timber were thoroughly charred. The mountain behind was scalped by a private timber company looking to salvage what value it could after the inferno. The Bureau of Land Management has not been as aggressive, and its blackened snags stand watch like ghoulish sentinels.

Everything the couple left behind, virtually everything they owned, their life work, their lifestyle, was incinerated.

“It took our past, our present and our future, it really did,” Niquette said. “It’s like you never existed before. You don’t have any proof of your personal existence.”

The couple was grossly underinsured. They received a $186,000 settlement, but that didn’t even cover the $239,000 they spent purchasing a house with half the square footage on a noisy cul de sac in Roseburg.

They are suing PacifiCorp, alleging several million dollars in economic and non-economic damages, including the loss of their home, shop, other structures, timber and various equipment, as well as damages for emotional distress.

Victims’ claims of damages often sound enormous, and attorneys acknowledge they are. But under Oregon law, awards for damages cannot be larger than what’s claimed in pleadings, and the initial claim can only be amended with permission from a judge. That incentivizes plaintiffs to claim the maximum amount of damages up front, though they may never see anything close to that sum.

Moreover, most damages awarded are taxable, including the significant share that could go to plaintiffs’ attorneys. And due to a change in federal tax law during the Trump administration that eliminated miscellaneous itemized deductions, those attorneys’ fees are not always deductible. That means victims can end up with a fraction of any settlement or money awarded by a jury, lawyers say.

Looking ruefully around their ruined property, Niquette says she and her husband would like to rebuild.

“But we don’t have 30 years to do it over ourselves.”

‘I do not know if I started that fire’

The fire that consumed their property – and their neighbors’ – ignited independently of those at French and Archie creeks. It wasn’t caused by faulty equipment, but by PacifiCorp employees who reenergized a power line during a windstorm without fully inspecting it for downed limbs and trees, the lawsuit claims.

Around 3:52 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2020, while the fires at Archie and French creeks were burning to the east and west, tree branches fell on one of PacifiCorp’s distribution lines serving customers east of the town of Glide, according to utility worker depositions in the lawsuit. That tripped a circuit breaker on a power pole on Highway 138 and knocked out power to customers upriver, including those on Susan Creek Road and Star Mountain Lane, according to utility operations data cited in court filings.

Unlike household circuit breakers that must be manually reset, “field reclosers” on power lines can cycle on and off, automatically testing a power line in a matter of milliseconds to determine if a fault is temporary and power can be safely restored -- say when a branch hits a line and falls off, clearing the fault. If the recloser tests the line and the fault persists, the breaker locks open and the utility sends a patrol worker to inspect the line.

Normal procedure, according to depositions by a PacifiCorp manager in the lawsuit, is for the worker to inspect the line section by section, and only reenergize the portions that have been fully inspected and are free of any problems, avoiding any unknown hazards down the line.

But that’s not what happened that morning, the lawsuit alleges.

The utility sent an employee from its Roseburg district to inspect the line. In depositions, the worker, Dan Hubsky, said he patrolled the line up to the point where a pole-mounted circuit breaker was closed, meaning there were presumably no problems beyond that point. Then he backtracked and removed tree limbs from the line.

After speaking with a system operator in Portland and explaining what he’d done, he received permission to reenergize the line and did so about 8:38 a.m., according to his deposition. Neighbors on Star Mountain Lane and Susan Creek Road said the power flickered on and off that morning. And that, the lawsuit alleges, is when the Star Mountain fire started.

In a deposition taken in December 2021, Hubsky admitted that months later he’d altered his notebook from the incident -- an admission plaintiffs’ lawyers now claim was a falsification of evidence.

He said he’d wondered if he’d done something wrong that day and was second guessing himself. He later added the word “open” next to the identifying number of the circuit breaker where he stopped his patrol.

In fact, that breaker was closed, he said in the deposition. And that allowed electricity to flow to Susan Creek when he reenergized the line, the lawsuit claims.

This photo was taken by a PacifiCorp line patroller allegedly just after the Star Mountain fire ignited on Sept. 8, 2020. The picture was included in an investigation report by the Bureau of Land Management that found the fire was caused by the company reenergizing a line in a windstorm that had a tree on top of it.

“I do not know if I started that fire,” Hubsky said during questioning.

In court filings, PacifiCorp denies that Hubsky falsified evidence, saying he truthfully testified to his recollection of events, when he made entries in his notes and why.

Clinton Wilkinson, the PacifiCorp system operator who gave Hubsky permission to reenergize the line, said in a deposition that “we operated safely based on the information we had at the time.”

‘We wouldn’t have gotten out’

On the hills surrounding Niquette and Schwartz’s place on Star Mountain Lane, several families barely escaped the flames. Some hope to rebuild. Others will never return.

Willie Miller remembers lying in his bed early that morning, the power out and the sky still dark. The howling wind shook his house hard enough to dislodge a picture from the wall, which hit him in the head.

“It was spooky,” he said of the storm.

Miller, a 62-year-old tree faller, tried to check on his son, brother and parents, who all live in separate homes on neighboring properties. But he said trees were crashing around him, so he settled on his porch, waiting for daylight.

When it arrived, he jumped in his truck and drove miles upriver to monitor the Archie Creek fire.

Nearby, Nancy Tague and her partner, Dianne Muscarello, were leaving their home shortly before 8 a.m. to get to a doctor’s appointment in Eugene. They got about halfway down the hill, just below Miller’s house, and found a 22-inch fir tree blocking the road.

Stuck, they went home to cancel the appointment.

Miller returned minutes later and, finding the same tree across the road, pulled a chainsaw from his truck, cut out a section big enough for vehicles to get by, then bucked it off the road and drove back to his house.

“When I got to my porch, I seen a column of smoke coming from the bottom of the road where I’d just come from, so I got in my truck to go check it out,” he said.

“It was in the trees,” he added, “and it was really going.”

Evidence of fire on the landscape in Glide. January 26, 2023 Beth Nakamura/Staff

Miller’s son Cody said in a deposition the power in his home flickered on and off that morning, restarting the air conditioning in his bedroom, then going off for good. The lawsuit alleges that happened about 8:38 a.m., immediately after Hubsky, the PacifiCorp worker, reclosed a circuit breaker about 4 miles down the highway, reenergizing the line and igniting the tree in contact with the line on Susan Creek Road.

Emergency response recordings filed as part of the lawsuit show that Willie Miller reported the fire at 8:56 a.m. A PacifiCorp foreman, Jay Williams, called 911 shortly after to report that “we have a guy up at Susan Creek Road with a tree in the line that started the fire.”

Spurred by adrenaline and fear, Miller said he hopped back in his truck to go warn his family and other neighbors, thinking they might need to jump in a nearby pond as a haven if the road became blocked again. On the way out, he met Tague and her partner, who had heard the scream of his chainsaw and decided to return down the road. He told them to leave immediately.

“We feel Willie saved our lives,” Tague said. “If he hadn’t cut that log across the road, we wouldn’t have gotten out. We had to drive through a flaming forest on both sides of the road and in the tops of the trees. I couldn’t see 15 or 20 feet ahead of me.”

No one died in that blaze. But eleven homes in the area were destroyed, including those of three generations in both Miller’s family and his neighbors the Ellis’s.

Miller is back on his property today, living in an RV. Tague and Muscarello have moved on. Collectively, the two families are seeking several million dollars in damages from PacifiCorp.

“We’re not going back to live up where the devastation is,” Tague said. “We just can’t.”

Trial coming

Resolution may come this year for fire victims, one way or another.

Despite PacifiCorp’s contention that its attorneys couldn’t be ready to proceed to trial until 2024, Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Johnson apparently isn’t interested in that much time passing.

At a hearing last month, lawyers argued over how trials should be conducted for the remaining 215 families and seven timber companies suing PacifiCorp over the Archie Creek fire.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers claim the facts surrounding the cause of the fires and PacifiCorp’s potential liability are the same for all clients, and the judge should hold a consolidated jury trial to determine the cause, liability, and whether PacifiCorp’s conduct was negligent. Damages for individual plaintiffs, they said, could be determined in a separate proceeding after a jury decides those questions.

Jeff Mornarich, a Roseburg attorney for the fire victims, also asserted that PacifiCorp can’t afford to let the case go to trial and risk losing. He said he expects the utility will rapidly settle claims in mediation once the judge sets a trial date, preferably in July.

Alison Plessman, a Hueston Hennigan attorney representing PacifiCorp, scoffed at that notion, saying PacifiCorp was not about “to write a blank check” if a trial date is set this year. She argued for a “bellwether trial” with a representative group of plaintiffs that would determine the cause, liability and any damages. That case, she said, would help inform subsequent trials or settlement talks with other fire victims.

The judge ruled for the plaintiffs, deciding it would be a waste of time to try the same questions of causation and liability in front of multiple juries that could reach different verdicts. She ordered a consolidated trial, saying she was prepared to move other cases off her docket to accommodate it this year.

That day can’t come soon enough for some fire victims.

Niquette and Schwartz, who lost their painstakingly crafted lifestyle in the woods, are exhausted by all the legal maneuverings involving PacifiCorp.

“We just keep hoping to get some semblance of our lives back,” Niquette said. “They don’t seem to care.”

- Ted Sickinger; [email protected]; 503-221-8505; @tedsickinger

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