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16,000 lose power

Faulty power lines between Central Point and White City left more than 16,000 people in the dark for around two hours Saturday afternoon, Pacific Power officials said.

Power company workers were checking the lines late in the evening to determine the fault in the line, said Pacific Power spokesman Monte Mendenhall.

"It affected 12 substations in Jackson County," Mendenhall said. "It was one of the larger outages we've had in some time."

The outage darkened homes in the northern part of the county. The cities affected were Central Point, Gold Hill, Jacksonville and White City. In addition, sections of north and west Medford, including the Rogue Valley Mall, saw large-scale outages.

In all, 16,800 houses lost power, Mendenhall said.

Pacific Power began restoring electricity to homes at 7:15 p.m. By 7:41 p.m. the power returned to every house affected by the outage, Mendenhall said.

The outages caused minor problems for law enforcement as traffic lights were knocked out for around 2 hours.

"We had traffic backed up pretty good at Interstate 5 and Pine Street," said Central Point police Sgt. Dave Croft. "We set up temporary stop signs at the intersection to move traffic through."

Medford police reported losing traffic signals in various parts of north and west Medford. Medford police Sgt. Greg Lemhouse said the areas hit hardest were the intersections of McAndrews and North Riverside Avenue, Table Rock and Biddle roads and Highway 62 and Delta Waters Avenue.

"We had one minor accident at McAndrews Avenue and Biddle Road, but mostly people behaved themselves very well," Lemhouse said.

Medford city hall lost power briefly and resorted to a back-up generator. The city's 9-1-1 service was not interrupted, Lemhouse said.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said the county's dispatch center lost power briefly before switching over to an emergency generator.

"We also lost the signal from one of our mountain repeaters, which affected our radios, but we've managed to square that away," Winters said.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.