A major windstorm cranked it up good today, and one of our sweetgums took a direct hit. A huge branch came down and snagged on several wires, blocking the street completely. I called the city's emergency tree number and spoke to a very nice woman. When I commented that the crews must be busy today (a holiday, wouldn't you know it), she replied "there'll be half a dozen trees left standing in Portland once this storm is over." Shortly after I made that call, the power went out, but the cause apparently lay elsewhere. Not our tree's fault, greater Southeast Portland. Really.
A guy in a city pickup was here within the hour, assessed the situation, then chainsawed off enough secondary limbs to clear a lane for traffic. Comcast put in an appearance but bowed out when PGE showed up with their biggest rig and put a crew on it. One of them looked like Mark Ruffalo, which added to my viewing pleasure. They approached the problem by deploying a tiny chainsaw-on-a-stick (the first time I've been tempted to describe a chainsaw as "adorable"), delicately severing specific twigs on which wires had gotten hung up, unsnagging them one by one. Finally the main body of the branch was all that remained, riding by one short stump on an ever-sagging phone wire. Mark and a pal gave it a flip and it thudded to the street. "You might want to see if you still have a dial tone," one of the guys suggested. It occured to me that the phone company hadn't put in an appearance, but just as I was finishing this post a Qwest truck pulled up. So we had a utility trifecta on Rural Street today, plus, for extra credit, a municipal show of force. I'm impressed by the response. "The City that Works," indeed.
Power was restored about three and a half hours into the unscheduled tree surgery. Yay. It's so nice to live in civilization instead of at the far reaches of the electric grid. If we were still on the coast, I'd be straining my eyes to read by oil-lamp light, instead of blogging right now.
Tomorrow we'll have to figure out how to deal with the massive debris pile in the street. On the bright side, though, that's one load of leaves we won't have to rake this fall.