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NW Natural warns of odor, power and gas outages as crews work to repair natural gas leak.

COURTESY PHOTO: PORTLAND FIRE & RESCUE - Portland fire crews stage near the area of Northwest 10th Avenue and Northwest Couch Street, where a natural gas leak led to evacuations and loss of electricity and gas Tuesday, Feb. 16.NW Natural crews worked to repair a gas leak in the Pearl District on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Portland Police responded to reports of a natural gas leak in the area of Northwest 10th Avenue and Northwest Couch Street around 7:20 a.m., according to the police bureau.

NW Natural dispatched utility repair crews to the area. The gas company said at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday that a gas leak was detected and nearby buildings were evacuated.

"Gas is turned off to a good portion of our system in this area," NW Natural stated Tuesday morning. "We are actively working to turn off one last section."

By 11 a.m., the company said the cause of the leak was still unclear, but "several hundred customers" were without gas service and Pacific Power actively turned off electricity to many residents in the immediate area.

"Natural gas service to the entire area of NW 9th and Couch is now off," NW Natural stated in an update. "We will now work to vent gas in the system so the odor in the area may be strong."

The utility company warned that it could take the rest of the day to assess the issue and repair affected areas. Sidewalks and streets in the area remained closed for at least a block in each direction near Northwest 10th Avenue and Northwest Couch Street.

Portland Police and Portland Fire & Rescue worked to keep the area safe and assist utility workers.

Residents are asked to avoid the immediate area if possible.

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