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Snow day!

Heavy winter storm prompts school and street closures, traffic delays


by: TIDINGS PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lauren Huffman works hard to dig out her car parked along Highway 43 on Monday. Her car got stranded there two days earlier because of the snow and ice. Just as the temperatures were rising and days were beginning to stretch a bit longer, a blast of harsh winter weather hit West Linn and the surrounding Portland metro area last week.

According to the National Weather Service, the Portland area was hit with between 5 and 8 inches of snow over the weekend, resulting in the cancellation of all school-related activities in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District on Friday and Monday, as well as a number of street closures.

The snow shifted to ice Sunday, prompting the city of Portland to send out a mass text message alert urging residents to stay indoors and keep off the roads. By Monday, warming temperatures gave way to rain, the snow began to melt and Public Works Director Lance Calvert said the streets of West Linn were fully cleared.

“We’ve been out ever since the snow started and have been working over the weekend,” Calvert said. “We were able to get all of the steep slopes and those types of streets open as well. For the most part, everything is back to normal.”

Calvert said the department was working Monday night to clear the last of the smaller streets and cul de sacs where residents had called with individual issues. Meanwhile, over at city hall, the city council took the opportunity to formally recognize the public works department for its response to the storm.

“Our public works staff has been working around the clock, 12-hour shift by 12-hour shift,” City Manager Chris Jordan said. “We received an email from someone who was surprised that their road was cleared and thanked us because they had to get out for a medical procedure; in another case an obstetrician had to get out to deliver babies.”

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: HEATHER KARABEIKA - The snow on West Linn resident Heather Karabeika's patio was piling up Friday morning.

“If you live in Minnesota, this is a normal occurrence,” City Councilor Mike Jones said. “But for us, it’s a bigger deal.”

As the first big wave of snow began to fall early Friday morning, the West Linn Public Works Department worked to clear primary and secondary snow routes on Rosemont Road, Salamo Drive, 10th Street and Willamette Falls Drive, among others. According to Calvert, the de-icer magnesium chloride was used on roads and hills while snow plows cleared the streets.

After the initial snow fall, street closures included Summit Street between Rosemont Road and Skyline Drive; Summit Street at Apollo Road; Pimlico Drive and Hidden Springs Road at Bluegrass Way and at Autumn View Court; Marylhurst Drive at Hillcrest Drive and at Midhill Circle; and Skype Parkway at Leigh Court and Hillside Drive.

Throughout the weekend, the West Linn Police Department responded to dozens of minor accidents and hazard reports, but nothing resulting in serious injuries or damage.

“Just typical things,” police spokesman Mike Francis said. “When West Linn gets snow, people are slipping and sliding down the hills. Nothing out of the ordinary, and there were no injuries.”

At noon Thursday, as the initial snow storm began, the first Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s Central Beaverton Station 67 and 20 other fire stations in the district began chaining up their trucks, fire engines and medic units in preparation for the coming storm. Within an hour of chaining up, their vehicles crews began to receive calls for assistance related to the weather. Capt. Kraig Moisan from Station 67 in Beaverton said the first opportunity for his crews to return to their station came more than six hours after that initial call for help on Thursday.

by: TIDINGS PHOTO: LORI HALL - The snow and cold weather didn't deter folks from visiting Mary S. Young State Park Friday morning. This gentleman wearing shorts didn't seemed phased by the turn of weather.

That first day alone involved 70 calls for assistance from motorists who ran out of fuel, along with 49 crashes between noon and 11 p.m. Thursday.

Statewide, Oregon State Police reported responding to more than 600 vehicle crashes by Sunday and in excess of 900 calls for assistance.

According to TVF&R, Moisan’s station alone logged 18 medical calls, three fires and six vehicle crashes Thursday afternoon and evening. Moisan himself even helped deliver a baby en route to St. Vincent Providence Hospital following yet another call for assistance around 2 a.m. Friday.

Almost exactly 24 hours later, another TVF&R crew helped deliver a baby in the back of an ambulance at the corner of Southwest Hall Boulevard and Canyon Road in Beaverton. TVF&R Public Information Officer Alisa Cour said the ambulance then pulled over so the baby’s father could get in. Cour said firefighters described the scene as “heartwarming.”

“Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue congratulates these families on the birth of their babies,” said Cour. “These little ones will have exciting stories to tell for years to come about being born during Portland’s biggest February snowstorm in 10 years.”

West Linn Refuse & Recycling canceled its Friday pickups last week and rescheduled them for Monday. The company said it would collect up to twice the normal amount of recycling and yard debris at its next regularly scheduled pick up time.

According to news partner KOIN 6, Meals on Wheels People closed its 34 neighborhood sites and canceled deliveries during the storm last week. The agency worked to call its 3,000 homebound seniors to make sure they were OK. Meals on Wheels said it provides two shelf-stable meals to all its seniors for circumstances like this.

To learn more about West Linn’s response to the storm or download a winter weather map, visit westlinnoregon.gov/publicworks/winter-weather-update.

— Reporter Josh Kulla contributed to this story.


By Patrick Malee
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by: TIDINGS PHOTO: LORI HALL - Riggs (left) and Coda enjoy roughhousing in the fresh snow Friday morning at Hammerle Park in West Linn.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MASON HARTMAN - Mason Hartman, owner of Nature's Pet in Central Village, snapped this photo Friday morning.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: TOBYUS SANCHEZO - This West Linn backyard penguin looks right at home in the snow.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: BENJAMIN LOWEY - Nothing is cuter than a little girl and a St. Bernard puppy playing in the snow.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: MELISSA PADGETT - Melissa Padgett sent in this photo taken in Sahallie-Illahee Park in West Linn.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: AMBER NURMI - J.D., Anna, and Esmee Nurmi enjoy the snow at Midhill Park.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JENNIFER KOHNE - Jennifer Kohne shot this photo at Fields Bridge Park Friday morning.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JENNIFER KOHNE - Jennifer Kohne shot this photo at Fields Bridge Park Friday morning.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: JENNIFER KOHNE - Jennifer Kohne shot this photo at Fields Bridge Park Friday morning.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CHERYL HILL - The fish in the fountain at West Linn Central Village look as though frozen in time Friday morning.

{img:32013}by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CHERYL HILL - The librarians at West Linn Public Library dutifully braved the elements and opened its doors Friday, despite the wintery weather.



Local Weather

Fair

48°F

West Linn

Fair

Humidity: 83%

Wind: 14 mph

  • 23 Nov 2014

    Rain 51°F 43°F

  • 24 Nov 2014

    PM Showers 53°F 50°F