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Multnomah County Sheriff's Office lowers Level 3 evacuation orders to Level 2

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - A logger walks up the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 Thursday while clearing fallen trees from the Eagle Creek Fire near Bonneville. The Oregon Department of Transportation reopened westbound lanes of I-84 from Cascade Locks late Thursday night, but eastbound lanes remain closed indefinitely while debris is cleared from the roadway and hazard trees and rocks are removed from hillsides. After consulting with fire officials, it has been determined the west end of the Eagle Creek Fire lines have been secured to a point which allows the evacuation levels to be lowered.

As of noon Friday, Sept. 15, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is downgrading all Level 3 evacuation orders to Level 2, which indicates residents should be prepared to leave at any time.

Residents are asked to visit the re-entry center established at the Corbett Community Church, 34309 N.E. Mershon Road, before returning to their homes. Bring identification to receive credentials and instructions on returning to your neighborhood. The center will be open Friday from noon to midnight, and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

In addition the Oregon Department of Transportation opened Interstate 84 in the westbound direction Thursday evening, Sept. 14, after it had been closed due to the ongoing Eagle Creek Fire.

The lanes are open from Hood River to Troutdale, though no one will be able to exit via off-ramps, including at Cascade Locks. Drivers are not permitted to stop on the freeway, and any cars left on the side of the road will be towed.

While the freeway is open, ODOT asks drivers to avoid traveling on it unless they must pass through.

The eastbound lanes remain closed, with no timetable for when they will be reopened. ODOT crews are continuing to identify and remove damaged trees along the road that pose a threat to drivers.

Here's a photo gallery from Thursday's tour of the Gorge conducted by ODOT officials:

OUTLOOK PHOTOS: JOSH KULLA



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