Power Profile - Tillamook Lumber Mill

Power Profile - Tillamook Lumber Mill

Customer: Local hospital and Tillamook Lumber Mill

Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Customer Requirement: Immediate emergency power and long-term power needs

Scope of Supply: Equipment –
Six generator sets (four XQ 2000, one XQ 1500, one XQ 500) distribution panels, cables, breakers, fuse disconnects, and other accessories.

Services –
Design, transportation, setup, logistics

Cat® Dealer: Halton Power
Portland, Oregon, USA

Two Cat® XQ 2000 generator sets powered the wing of a hospital
Two Cat® XQ 2000 generator sets powered the wing of a hospital after it lost its electrical room in a fire. They were onsite within hours of the weekend fire.

Power Need

Gene Fitzgerald will not soon forget Saturday, August 6, 2005. That morning, the Rental Sales Rep for Halton Power in Portland, Oregon was manning the oars in the middle of the Willamette River participating in a dragon boat race when his cell phone began ringing.

It was an urgent call for help from Oregon Electric. They were busy at a nearby hospital where a transformer feeding the entire East Wing’s electrical room had started on fire, destroying all the electrical distribution and transfer switches in the electrical room. The hospital wing was left with only egress lighting so they needed help right away!

Ten minutes later, Fitzgerald was at the hospital meeting with Ron Collins, the Project Manager of Oregon Electric, along with Mark Presleigh (Project Engineer) and Darryl Semmler (Carpenter Foreman) of Skanska USA Building, the hospital’s construction contractor. They had to assess the fire damage and determine what would be needed to get the facility back in operation.

There was an urgent need to power the refrigeration system that stored temperature-sensitive medical supplies and medicines. The rest of the building needed temporary power for the hospital’s pharmacy, clinics, and labs. Mobile power would be needed for about a month until the destroyed equipment could be replaced.

Presleigh says they were all were amazed at the speed of Fitzgerald’s response. Little did they know that at the same time, he was responding to another desperate call from Tillamook Lumber Mill.

A fire in the switchgear Friday night had burned the mill’s main substation to the ground. After unsuccessfully searching for replacement equipment at another of their mills, they called Halton to provide four generators for a total of 6 MW of power. Tom Jones of the Tillamook Mill was pleased to hear Fitzgerald’s reply, “We have them in stock and can get them out of here in ten minutes. Where do they go?”

“We can’t afford to be shut down,” says Jones of the 15th largest lumber mill in the nation, producing some 1.4 million board feet per day. Despite the extensive damage, the mill wouldn’t be down for long.


It only took two hours to install a small generator and distribution panel at the hospital to get the refrigeration system was back in service. The Halton Power team simultaneously gathered resources for the rest of the blacked-out hospital wing and the Tillamook Mill power restoration.

Halton Power had the generators in stock and made arrangements for transport and equipment set up. Peterson Machinery of Eugene provided extra cable, and NC Machinery of Seattle provided electrical distribution panels and fused disconnects. Oregon Electric Group, EC Company, McCoy Electric, and two trucking companies also provided services.

“Within five hours, we had a 2 MW XQ 2000 sound-attenuated generator set, two 400 amp fused disconnects, one 600 amp, two 800 amp, a 1,000 amp breaker and three 800 amp distribution panels, and all the cable we could muster on site at the hospital,” remembers Fitzgerald. “By 8 PM, we had two XQ 2000s at the Mill, along with every scrap of cable we could find. Between the two jobs, we were getting kind of short on cable.”

An XQ 1500 and XQ 500 were on site at Tillamook early Sunday and ready for hook-up. The mill was back in operation Monday – loosing only one shift of production – about 570,000 board feet of lumber. Three of the generators at the mill were needed for a week, but it was a month before the last XQ 2000 generator returned to Halton’s storage yard.

It took most of the next day for the electricians to get the hospital ready due to the extent of fire damage. Workers had to crawl under the hospital to locate good wiring. “The electricians were working frantically to cut the conduits and get everything spliced together and hooked up,” says Fitzgerald. “It required a tremendous amount of cable, distribution panels, breakers, fuse disconnects, and other equipment. It was quite the project.” Nevertheless, the hospital was in full operation on Monday.


Two major facilities, two fires, six generators, miles of cable and truckloads of electrical equipment, on a weekend – and Halton Power had everything back in operation within two days.

Halton Power has done work for both facilities before, “However, they had no idea of our capability until this occurred. I think we’re unmatched,” says Fitzgerald. “If you talk to the customers, they’ll say exactly the same thing. Without us, they had no power.”

Mark Presleigh of Skanska sent Fitzgerald an e-mail that said, “You really came through for us.” Jones agreed, saying that without power, his customers don’t get their lumber and a lot of people would be on the unemployment line, “It was awesome, he really saved our bacon.”

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The 15th largest lumber mill in the nation
The 15th largest lumber mill in the nation lost only one shift of production after its main substation burned to the ground. Halton Cat was able to muster the needed equipment while also responding to the emergency power needs of a local hospital.