SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Butte Falls residents still without internet, phone service weeks after South Obenchain Fire

CenturyLink customers in the Butte Falls area say they're still without internet and phone and haven't received an update on when services would be restored.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 6:11 PM
Updated: Oct 20, 2020 6:29 PM

BUTTE FALLS, Ore. — Some CenturyLink customers in the South Obenchain Fire's burn area have been without internet and phone services for weeks. And despite numerous calls to the customer service lines, Butte Falls residents are still seeking answers.

"We went weeks without being able to get a hold of them. And then once we did, the people that we got a hold of seemed to know nothing about our situation," Marshal McFarland said.

McFarland lives near Butte Falls and nearly lost his home to the South Obenchain Fire that began on September 8. The fire spared his home and his mother's house on his property, but he still lost some outbuildings and a well. The fire burned most of his property. He and his family have been without internet and phone services ever since.

Driving up Butte Falls Highway, telephone lines hang down from power poles, lying limply in trees and in the grass below. Seeing those lines lay there for weeks has McFarland doubting his service will be restored anytime soon.

"I think it's pretty apparent that that's not going to be the case," McFarland said.

The service outages are especially tough on McFarland's family. His mother, who lives on his property, is disabled and uses a life alert device in case she needs emergency assistance. It doesn't work, however, without a functional phone line. And McFarland's youngest daughter is a student at Eagle Point High School. Without internet service, it's impossible for her to attend distance learning classes from her home in Butte Falls.

"I'm having to have my youngest daughter who still lives at home . . . stay in town with her grandparents in order for her to be able to continue to do her distance learning," McFarland said.

If the internet and phone service were restored in Butte Falls, McFarland's family could all come home.

"I would love to have my entire family to be able to come back home. And right now it's just not an option. I'm only getting to bring my daughter home on the weekends," McFarland said.

Lumen Technologies, the parent company of CenturyLink, provided this statement when asked by NewsWatch 12 what was causing the delays in service:
"As soon as it was safe to do so, our teams accessed the area and installed temporary cables to restore as much of the internet and phone connectivity as possible. Our installation and construction teams continue working on restoration efforts however, there is the potential that some customers may be experiencing ongoing service disruptions.

We know how important these services are to our customers In the Butte Falls area. Much of our connectivity was destroyed in the fire. Approximately 5 miles of fiber, as well as the copper telephone lines, were burned along Butte Falls Hwy, as well as the side roads on and off the highway."

Senior communications manager Kerry Zimmer added CenturyLink installed around 5 miles of "aerial cables" for temporary relief.

While McFarland and other customers await an update from CenturyLink, the company announced on Twitter Tuesday they were named to Newsweek's list of "America’s Best Customer Service brands."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 66333

Reported Deaths: 826
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah15240213
Washington903896
Marion8436130
Clackamas547276
Umatilla415648
Lane389037
Jackson343623
Malheur231839
Deschutes195514
Yamhill158216
Linn127518
Polk107615
Douglas82215
Jefferson77311
Benton7197
Union7172
Klamath6854
Morrow6257
Lincoln56513
Wasco47918
Josephine4434
Columbia4383
Coos3901
Hood River3661
Clatsop3350
Baker2593
Crook1986
Grant1231
Tillamook1120
Curry1052
Lake1010
Harney871
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler30
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1128219

Reported Deaths: 18753
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3706367446
San Bernardino851761129
Riverside815651413
San Diego72815968
Orange711161554
Kern38519445
Fresno36315471
Sacramento33421546
Santa Clara31103464
Alameda27622499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22482258
Stanislaus20658418
Tulare19818303
Ventura18105174
Imperial15257355
San Francisco14542158
Monterey13887114
San Mateo13334169
Sonoma11486155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10946133
Kings1011586
Solano936380
Marin7560128
Placer607167
Madera588580
San Luis Obispo566435
Yolo425775
Shasta410042
Santa Cruz389627
Butte371259
Napa277817
Sutter267713
El Dorado19304
San Benito174615
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama145723
Mendocino142422
Nevada10529
Lake83418
Glenn8326
Humboldt7849
Tuolumne7848
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo27916
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Modoc1140
Trinity1140
Mariposa1122
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 43°
Brookings
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 39°
Crater Lake
Overcast
21° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 21°
Grants Pass
Overcast
43° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Klamath Falls
Overcast
21° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 21°
Rain & snow arrive later Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events