- Associated Press - Friday, April 7, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A windstorm toppled a large tree limb onto an Oregon man, killing him, and it might have contributed to two other catastrophic events on a blustery Friday that cut power to more than 200,000 people.

Ronald Kibert, 67, of Tigard died at a Portland hospital after a neighbor discovered him under a large limb Friday morning, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said. Investigators learned that he liked to take walks in the area where the tree fell.

Meanwhile, a small plane went down in a field north of Eugene Airport, killing all four people aboard, Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley said. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but winds were strong at the time.

On the Columbia River, a research boat overturned and sank in rough conditions near Multnomah Falls, sending three men and a woman to area hospitals with hypothermia. The most seriously injured man was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to a Portland hospital, where he later died, KATU-TV reported.

The powerful storm caused havoc up and down western Oregon. Gusts of 50 to 60 mph knocked trees into power lines and across roads. Pacific Power crews spent Friday restoring power in communities from the Willamette Valley down toward the California state line, including Albany, Bandon, Grants Pass, North Bend and Roseburg.

The utility said about 100,000 of its customers were without power at dawn, but that number fell to 16,000 by mid-afternoon.

The storm surged north into the Portland area. Winds whipped debris across downtown streets and forced construction workers to hold their hard hats. Fire departments responded to numerous calls about downed trees and wires, and photos of property damage quickly spread online.

Portland General Electric reported that more than 100,000 of its customers were without power in the three-county metro area, mostly in suburban Portland. Thousands also lost power in the wine country southwest of Portland and near the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

Some school districts and community colleges canceled classes because of power outages. Other schools said buses were delayed by blocked roads. The Oregon Zoo was closed.

The National Weather Service said the strongest winds were over, but gusts would continue into the evening.


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