A new public works building is coming near Mission Street SE and 23rd Street SE in southeast Salem.

The first-ever community microgrid in Oregon set to be created in southeast Salem could mean more residents will keep electricity during the next power outage.

The small-scale electrical grid, which combines energy sources like a generator and solar panels, will provide emergency power to Salem’s Public Works building, 96 units in six apartment buildings, 34 homes, four government buildings and one business in the event of a power outage like the 2021 ice storm.

The 2021 storm caused massive, city-wide outages, leaving tens of thousands of residents without power for days. People lost food, struggled to stay warm and fled to emergency shelters and motels to power vital medical equipment.

Downed wires closed Mission Street SE at High Street SE on Sunday following the ice storm that struck the central Willamette Valley.

The project comes after the city, in partnership with Portland General Electric, received a $1 million grant from the Oregon Department of Energy through the Community Renewable Energy Grant Program.

City public works spokesman Trevor Smith said the city’s portion of the community microgrid will be complete when the new Public Works Operations building located at 1457 23rd St. SE is complete and the solar panels are installed on the new building late next year.

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