top of page

Permanent generators ready to power homes during electrical outages

Three men with developmental disabilities, wearing pajamas and loungewear, stand around their new permanent gas powered generator on the side of their home.
Left to right) Tom, Steve P, and Steve M stand next to the GENERAC standby generator installed at their home in south Salem. The generator is one of eight generators installed at Shangri-La residential programs.

Since 2022, Shangri-La has been working to install automatic standby generators, powered by natural gas, at eight residential programs serving individuals with disabilities.

Installing permanent generators became a priority after natural disasters in 2021 and 2022 highlighted gaps in Shangri-La's emergency response plans.

“During the ice storm in 2021 and the windstorm in 2022, we had four homes go without power for almost two weeks,” said Robin Winkle, director of operations. “We had to scramble to locate small gas generators in order to keep people safe.”

Outside of the common challenges associated with a power outage -- like heat and cooking --, some Shangri-La residential programs face even more significant challenges when without electricity for extended periods -- for example, running and recharging medical and mobility equipment like oxygen machines and lifts.

In the past, Shangri-La tried storing small, basic gas generators for use in case of an emergency but found that when they were needed, use didn't go smoothly for a variety of reasons, including gasoline availability, difficulty delivering generators to programs due to dangerous road conditions, and staff being unsure how to operate the machines safely.

Therefore, Shangri-La applied for a grant and received money from Marie Lamfrom Community Foundation to purchase generators.

Generac generator sits in yard on the side of a house surrounded by bushes.
GENERAC generator will power home during power outages.

“I contacted Alternative Power Source out of Estacada,” Winkle said, “One of the few generator vendors in Oregon, and they were able to order the systems, which took over ten months to become available.”

Given the cost of the generators and the need for a natural gas meter to power the generator, Shangri-La selected specific programs, based on needs of the program, and geographic relation to other programs to receive a generator.

"We made the systems large enough to run the full home so that others [from other affected homes] could relocate to a generator-powered home when needed," explained Winkle.



bottom of page