In an emergency meeting that was mostly in the dark, the Yukon City Council approved a contractor for tree removal, and city officials gave an update on the widespread power outages and ice storm damage.
There are more than 200 residents of Spanish Cove Retirement Village in Yukon who may need to be relocated, said Police Chief John Corn, who spoke at the meeting in City Hall.
Power was out to downtown Yukon Wednesday after trees and power lines collapsed about 2 a.m. The lights came on for the start of the emergency meeting at 3 p.m., but then went off and the council members continued in the dark with the blinds open. Natural light from a cloudy, icy day on Main Street helped those in the council chamber see their notes. Power lines drooped and sagged along Main Street and were on the sidewalk outside of the building.
There were nearly 7,000 power outages early Wednesday, including central parts of Yukon with older trees and homes. The Jackie Cooper Gymnasium, recently closed due to COVID-19 cases, was cleaned and reopened for anyone who needed a place to stay, Mayor Shelli Selby said. She urged people to have patience in the situation.
“Our prayers are with you. And we want you to know that Jackie Cooper is open, Trinity Baptist is open, Town & Country Church is open. If you don’t have a safe, warm place to go reach out to us. Reach out to me personally,” Selby said. “Because we want to make sure that everybody is safe tonight.
City Manager Jim Crosby said the city was hit with a natural disaster.
“I think it is very important that we kind of update you about everything that is going on,” Crosby said. “We’ve got in my opinion a major disaster that has occurred in this community with this ice storm. We have a lot of things we are going to face with it in the future.”
He said a Jimmy’s Egg Restaurant on Garth Brooks Boulevard had roof damage early Wednesday.
Police Chief John Corn said that at Spanish Cove, CEO Don Blose has requested state assistance.
“They have 200 residents not powered. They have been calling families trying to get those folks relocated with family, someone outside the area not affected and that is going to be the east side of the state,” Corn said. “He (Blose) is asking for at least people to consider what can be done depending on the number of residents who he needs to relocate who are not able to go with family. So we will keep an eye on that.”
Corn said Yukon does not have a facility that could assist them. There are also COVID-19 concerns about relocating, he said.
Also, an assisted living center in Surrey Hills has 160 residents who need to relocate. Canadian County and Oklahoma City officials are aware of the situation, Corn said.
“There is a continuing factor in relocating that populous into a separate facility whether it be a city facility or another private facility, they are going to be very cautious,” Corn said.
He said Jimmy’s Egg was closed Wednesday, but he did not have a damage estimate for the restaurant on Garth Brooks Boulevard.
He said businesses along the Interstate 40 corridor and south of I-40 were open and had power.
“But once you go north of Vandament everything starts to go black,” Corn said.
He said Saint John of Nepomuk Catholic School and Church was without power.
The light signals were out at Garth Brooks Boulevard and Main Street, and from Garth Brooks Boulevard along SH 66 to Sara Road there was no power.
Several housing additions had no power in the afternoon, he said.
There is no time frame being given by OG&E on restoration, Corn said.
Corn said residents should plan to not have power restored for several days.
“I really think that from year’s past and previous events, we should plan for 72 hours not to have power, even further into a total of maybe four to five days.”
Fire Chief Shawn Vogt said there were more than 50 calls about downed trees and power lines early Wednesday.
“We have a considerable amount of debris,” Corn said. “The trees are going to continue to break and the weight has not been eliminated because we had the warm rain. We hope to stay above freezing tonight but we don’t really know.”
“It is almost like trees and shrubbery are shearing themselves as this warming up process takes place,” Corn said.
City Manager Jim Crosby said plans are being made for a location to let residents drop off tree debris.
The council unanimously approved renewing their contract with Arbor Masters Tree Service for emergency storm debris removal.
Anyone in Yukon needing assistance can call the main police non-emergency number (405) 354-1711.