The Gales Creek Valley on Saturday, February 13. Photo: Chas Hundley

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to the severe winter weather in the Willamette Valley that has left hundreds of thousands without power and closed highways , roads, and public transit across the region.

The emergency applies to Washington, Benton, Clackamas, Hood River, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, and Yamhill Counties, and will last for seven days unless terminated earlier by the governor.

"The weather that set in yesterday and continued overnight has left extensive damage with hundreds of thousands of Oregonians without power," said Brown. "Because of windstorms, utility crews were not able to safely start work on restoring power until this morning. Crews are out in full force now and are coordinating with local emergency response teams on communications for emergency services, such as warming centers. I'm committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need on the ground."

With the emergency declaration in place, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is authorized to activate the state's emergency operations plan and tap resources and personnel from other state agencies to respond to the emergency.