Full power has been restored to the upper floors of Franklin Towers nearly a month after the building’s electrical system failed during a thunderstorm.

The building is home to 210 low-income disabled and elderly residents. Power was restored to the first six floors the day after the Aug. 26 storm, but the repairs took longer for floors seven through 16. A temporary fix allowed those tenants to use some outlets in their apartments, but they could not use major appliances like stoves or air conditioners.

Cheryl Sessions, executive director of the Portland Housing Authority, said Thursday that residents may resume normal use of appliances and outlets. She also said affected tenants would get 20 percent off their rent for one month because of the power outage. Tenants at Franklin Towers and other public housing pay 30 percent of their income toward rent. The average monthly cost to live at the Cumberland Avenue high rise is $383 per month.

“To restore full power, our electricians circumvented the damaged portion of the electrical distribution system,” Sessions said in a statement. “Permanent replacement of that system is still needed to ensure system resiliency going forward. Plans for the permanent replacement will follow designs for floors 2 through 6, which were completed this summer. While we cannot rule out future short-term interruptions as the existing system is switched over to the new system, we are committed to mitigating the disruption for our residents.”

The housing authority distributed $100 grocery cards to replace spoiled food after the outage and made some short-term housing accommodations for residents with medical conditions.

“Portland Housing Authority again thanks all its staff, volunteers, electricians, engineers, inspectors, and most of all, residents for bearing through this challenging situation,” Sessions said. “Our absolute priority has been and will continue to be resident safety.”

The power outage at Franklin Towers brought to light other issues residents say have long plagued the building, including bugs, leaks, dirty hallways and one working elevator. Sessions has said the storm coincided with a planned upgrade of one of the building’s two elevators, and work to modernize the elevator is expected to be completed and inspected in early October. She also said the housing authority is planning a major renovation but did not provide a timeline for that project.

Sessions responded to reports of bed bugs by outlining the Portland Housing Authority protocol for those complaints, which includes an inspection and at least three treatments. During the first eight months of the year, she said the housing authority averaged 31 units per month with active bed bug treatments across all its properties, which represents less than 3 percent of its total units.

“Throughout this process, we offer help to residents and include residents’ case workers and health aids when requested, including professional moving services and language interpreters at no cost to the resident,” she said. “However, there can be barriers, including residents who do not report infestations, often because they are uncomfortable speaking up, and residents who are not ready on the scheduled day of treatment, which prolongs the process. … We are committed to working with residents from the moment we are notified of a bed bug issue. And we are always looking for new ways to improve how we can prevent and treat bed bugs.”

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