Wow! What a storm.

First off, let's just say, area residents deserve an 'A' for the perseverance they've shown as they've coped with the depths of snow that haven't been seen in this neck of the woods for a very, very long time.

It's been a difficult couple of weeks, testing the patience of everyone who ventured onto the roads, and adding to the stress that always seems to accompany the Christmas season.

For retailers, the snow couldn't have come at a worse time - smack dab in the middle of the last two weeks leading up to Christmas during a time of economic downturn. That has to hurt on the bottom line.

It would have been all too easy for this storm to cast a dark cloud over the holiday and to turn frustrated driver against frustrated driver - at least in those cases where people were able to drive at all. But instead there were more reports of random acts of kindness - strangers helping strangers with a push, a shovel, a kind word or a ride. That speaks well of this community.

So to everyone who has taken this storm in stride - albeit with less traction - thank you.

Along with any storm of this type, it's common that the public will armchair quarterback the snow removal - or lack thereof - from city streets. We all want our street plowed and nobody wants the hassle of putting on and taking off chains. We can sympathize with residents on hilly Lake Oswego streets who rarely if ever saw a snowplow during this mess.

But, as everyone knows, this type of storm is the exception to the rule in the Willamette Valley. With so many important programs and services funded with taxpayer dollars, it just doesn't make sense for cities to invest hundreds-of-thousands of dollars - or more - in a fleet of snow-removal vehicles that may go unused year after year.

Now, as to the other options - applying salt, de-icers, anti-icers, sand and gravel - there really are no perfect solutions.

We're grateful for the efforts of city crews who helped improve the drivability of some streets in the area. Not all streets could be reached and, unfortunately, not all residents were pleased with the city's efforts.

Of course, residents need to be ready to do their part. It may seem like a waste of money and time most of the time, but everyone should have emergency supplies of food and water on hand in case of disasters, such as more than a foot of snow, freezing rain and subfreezing temperatures for nearly two weeks. Residents should have food that can be prepared without power, water, necessary prescription drugs and, in case of winter storms, chains and snow shovels on hand.

Considering the rarity of snowstorms like this hitting our region, it's not realistic to think cities can take care of all residents and all streets. It's each individual's responsibility to have the necessary tools to survive these events that occur once every decade.

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