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Snow makes Sandy area a playground

by: marcus hathcock, Axel and Carter Clear, who just moved to Sandy from Indiana, celebrated the big snowfall by trying to shovel it in an open field on Dubarko Road west of Tupper Road.

More than a foot of snow blanketed the Sandy area Sunday and Monday, and much more than that up the mountain, turning the community into one big snow park.

Virtually every street in town with an incline was fair game to locals.

Meinig Park was, as always, the center of activity, as sledders and snowboarders took advantage of winding paths and steep hills in the pursuit of the perfect downhill run.

Paxton Baker of Clackamas said the best part about snow is sledding.

'I love going down hills,' he said, as his father, Chris, watched him.

Sandy resident Jim Slagle welcomed the cancellation of classes Monday, Jan. 28. He and his grandsons, Alex Morgan, 11, and Nick Morgan, 8, also rode Meinig's slopes.

'It gives me a chance to play with my grandkids,' Slagle said, proudly.

Matt Vassallo and his daughter, Amelia, enjoyed riding their rare snow toys - a European 'roedl' sled, and a snurfer, the world's first snowboard.

'Usually we just get a few inches at a time,' Matt said as he slowly slid down Melissa Avenue. 'This is great.'

Axel Clear, 5, and Carter Clear, 4, enjoyed their first big snow in Sandy - they recently moved here from Indiana - by shoveling and tossing it in a driveway on Dubarko Road, just west of Tupper Road.

While snow was nothing new to them, the Clear brothers were excited that the temperatures weren't so low that it would be uncomfortable to go outside and play in it.

Anthony Neely buried his daughter, Mikayla, in the snow, as his wife, Jada, built a snowwoman with a pink scarf.

'I can't remember the last time we had this much snow,' she said. 'It's kind of nice it sticks around for a few days.'

Indeed, the snow was the most the area's seen in about five years, public works crew leader Martin Montgomery told television media.

'We're used to a lot of quick snow, and then it's gone,' said Sandy Deputy Fire Chief Phil Schneider. 'It's been a while since we've been dumped on like this.'

The weather proved to make travel difficult. Schneider reported that there were six weather-related wrecks in the area on Sunday alone.

Four of those wrecks occurred one after another, roughly between 8 and 11 a.m. near milepost 30 on Highway 26, east of Sandy.

'Sunday was fairly busy. The road pretty much had an ice face underneath, with snow on top of it - very slick,' Schneider said. 'The first four (crashes) were bam, bam - right in a row.'

Before Schneider could get home from one crash, he'd hear of the next and would turn around to report to the scene.

In one crash, a woman was T-boned on the passenger side of her vehicle, which trapped her inside. After first responders pulled her from her car, the woman was transported to Legacy Emanuel Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

'She had some neck and back pain, and some numbness in one of her legs,' Schneider said, 'so we had to take all precautions.'

Other crashes, mostly rollovers, were at Highway 26 and 362nd Avenue, and at Dubarko Road and Ruben Lane.

The snow closed schools in the Oregon Trail District on Monday and Tuesday, and District Spokeswoman Julia Monteith said that the possibility exists for additional closures, or, more likely, two-hour late starts.

The Sandy Planning Commission meeting regarding the 'Sandy Style' development changes was postponed to Wednesday, Feb. 6, due to the snow.

The weather conditions also put the Sandy Area Metro bus service on snow routes, meaning it would not go down Langensand Road to McCormick Street. It also canceled its Estacada service and the Mountain Express bus.

The last eastbound stop on SAM is at Wolf Drive and Highway 26, near the post office. The bus will then go onto Proctor Boulevard and wait at the Revenue Avenue stop for passengers.

Forecasts for the area have varied. Some have predicted that there will be very little snow this week, if any at all, and that most of it should melt by the weekend. Others call for snow every day this week, however in decreasing amounts.

Schneider advises locals to be prepared for the wintry weather.

'We've seen a lot of limbs breaking, and heavy accumulation on the wires,' he said, which means that area residents need to watch for fallen debris on the roads and prepare for possible power outages. He also said drive carefully, especially during the mornings, when slush from the previous day turns to a sheet of ice.

Some forecasts call for snow in Sandy all week; others predict gradually decreasing amounts of snow through Wednesday, Jan. 30.