Snowmageddon, snowpocalypse, whatever you call the inches of snow and freezing rain the Portland metro area was doused with this weekend, we call it a little miracle — an affirmation in our belief in family, neighbors, community and helping each other out.

When the predictions of snow were first being made early last week, many scoffed at the weather forecasters. We sneered when we heard of “slight accumulations” and potential for freezing rain.

Then, when we awoke Thursday morning and heard the tales of our friends to the south, Albany and Salem, and the 25-vehicle pileup that occurred on Interstate 5, which tragically ended a former Tualatin man’s life, we took notice. Perhaps the weatherman was right this time.

Those who could, thought of themselves and their families first. There were reports of long lines at the supermarket, drivers were topping off their tanks at area gas stations, and the lines at the Redboxes were extreme. Folks were getting ready to settle in and hunker down.

Kids and teachers alike rejoiced when Washington County schools fell like dominoes one by one with early releases on Thursday. Then, the snow started to fall. It was an icy biting snow, not the big fat flakes that would later come.

As Thursday progressively grew worse and nearly the entire region shut down Friday and Saturday, families stayed close to home. Kids and parents alike spent time together frolicking in the snow, watching movies and playing games. Instead of driving, folks took to the streets, walking to the store, enjoying the snow and watching dogs go nuts in the white stuff.

Neighbors looked out for each other, shoveling out each other’s driveways and sidewalks.

Out on the street, strangers could be seen helping strangers, pushing stuck vehicles up hills, out of snow mounds and helping work those tricky tire chains.

During weather like this, it seems people get a renewed sense of gratefulness for our police, public works, fire and ambulance crews — all the ones forced to be out on the road looking out for the rest of us yahoos.

According to Oregon State Police, troopers statewide responded to about 600 weather-related crashes between Thursday morning and Saturday afternoon. On top of that, troopers also assisted approximately 900 motorists who needed assistance because of the weather and road conditions.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue had two special deliveries during the storm too. Around 2 a.m. Saturday, an Aloha couple stopped at a grocery store parking lot when the very pregnant woman knew they wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Firefighter paramedics helped bring a baby girl into the world. The day before, another baby — this time a boy — was ushered into the world on Highway 217 in the back of a TVF&R ambulance.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude for all the emergency responders helping out in times of crisis, the public works crews toiling around the clock to clear streets, the tow truck drivers for getting us out when we got in too deep, the grocery store clerks putting up with the madness of customers stocking up on “essentials” like beer, wine and hot chocolate, and all the pizza delivery men and women who brought us hot pies when it was just too much for us to leave the warmth of our homes.

Let’s hope it is another five years before our next winter storm, but let’s also keep that sense of humanity alive and well — no matter the weather.

Contract Publishing

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