Electrical repairs to Franklin Towers completed, but inspections needed before power is fully restored

Franklin Towers is home to 210 low-income seniors and disabled people. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Electricians completed repairs to the upper floors of the Franklin Towers on Friday, but it will take until Tuesday to complete the extensive safety testing needed before power is fully restored, a Portland Housing Authority official said Friday.

The housing authority is not offering a new timeline for when residents on upper floors will be able to use their stoves or air conditioners. The building houses 210 low-income elderly and disabled people.

Residents on the seventh through 16th floors of the Portland building have been without power since the building’s electrical system failed Aug. 26 after a thunderstorm.

Cheryl Sessions, executive director of the housing authority, said on Thursday that power would be fully restored the following day. But on Friday, she announced that while electricians had finished installing a new bus bar, which helps distribute electricity through the building, more safety inspections are needed on “an excess of caution”.

“The electrician worked with city inspectors who accept this cautious approach to ensure that the lighting did not corrupt any other part of the busbar, which went undetected,” he said. she said in a prepared statement.

Sessions said there’s a chance that testing will reveal more extensive damage, and permanent repair or replacement may be required before full power can be restored.

“We cannot rule out future short-term disruptions as interim testing and repairs continue, we are committed to mitigating disruption for our residents,” she said.

The housing authority is also planning rent adjustments which will be determined once power is fully restored, Sessions said.

Electricity was back on the first six floors of the building after the storm, but repairs to bring electricity to the upper floors could not be made until a bus bar arrived from New Mexico. .

Residents on these upper floors had limited access to electricity through multiple outlets, but could not use larger appliances like their stoves or air conditioners. The housing authority distributed $100 grocery cards to replace spoiled food.

Sessions said the housing authority will continue to partner with Preble Street to provide meals.

The power outage at Franklin Towers brought to light other issues that residents say have plagued the building for a long time, including bugs, leaks, dirty hallways and only one working elevator.

Sessions said Friday that the storm coincided with a planned upgrade to one of the building’s two elevators. The elevator upgrades are expected to be completed and inspected in early October, she said.


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Mara W. Anderson