• By Robert Lathers and Jim Townsend

Ice Jam Closes Bridges Over Grand River Indefinitely

Rain and snow in the Portland area over the last 24 hours have added to an already difficult situation near the Grand River in downtown Portland.

River levels are on the increase and Canal Street has again taken on water. City officials said that Canal Street residents were promptly notified and are being assisted.

In an announcement on the City Facebook page at 10:22 AM, the city said, “If the water and ice continue to rise on Canal St. and buries or shifts the electric transformers, power may be lost or have to be turned off. Electric crews may be able to reroute service for some, but not all, residents.

This would affect residents in the area of Canal and Market Streets and the 100 and 200 blocks on the west (river) side of Kent St.

Crews are carefully monitoring the situation.”

The bridges on Bridge Street and Grand River Avenue crossing the Grand River have also been closed to traffic.

City Manager Tutt Gorman told the Beacon’s Robert Lathers, “Whenever ice touches a bridge, we have to shut it down. We did that. We are assessing the situation ongoing”.

When asked about shutting off power in the city, Gorman explained, “We are fortunate in that we can cut off sections of the city’s power if transformers are threatened without cutting off all power. We will err on the side of caution”.

Amanda Johnson, a Portland City Councilwoman, was seen lending a hand at Conflux City Brewing as water from the Grand River continues to rise and threaten the business’s condensers. “We are trying to save the condensers with sandbags and sand barriers. The first goal is to make sure people are safe.”

Emergency vehicles from both Saranac and Grand Ledge have been seen in and around the city.

The Portland Community Fund Association has announced it is accepting applications for disaster relief grants. The deadline is Friday, February 22, and applications available at City Hall.

Cell phone video submitted by Teaghan Lathers.

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