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Snow and winter weather impact schools, community resources; Warming Center looks to extend seasonal services as cold continues

PMG PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Scappoose residents Triston, Isaiah and CJ make snow angels and snowballs during a day when school was closed due to weather conditions Wednesday, Feb. 27. Schools throughout Columbia County announced closures Wednesday, and many evening governmental meetings were canceled.  Columbia County saw a trace to two inches of snow in one week, with a dusting Monday morning, Feb. 25, followed by more snow Wednesday morning, Feb. 27.

The cold weather caused icy and slick roads in some cases and affected a variety of activities in the county, causing schools to close and some public events to be canceled.

School districts in Scappoose, St. Helens and Vernonia announced delayed starts Monday morning and restricted buses to snow routes. On Tuesday morning, Scappoose schools also followed snow routes for some of their bus lines. PMG PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Bonnie and Brooklyn Johnson of Scappoose walk their dog, Mena, through the snow in Heritage Park in Scappoose after a Wednesday morning snowfall.

When snow fell again Wednesday, Feb. 27, school districts in Scappoose, St. Helens, Vernonia and Rainier closed for the day. A variety of evening activities and business meetings for the St. Helens School District were also canceled due to weather conditions.

COURTESY PHOTO: SCAPPOOSE FIRE AND RESCUE - A two-vehicle crash was reported on Highway 30 and Fullerton Road on Wednesday morning, Feb. 27. One person was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.In the early morning Wednesday, Scappoose Fire District officials were called to the scene of a two-vehicle crash involving a semi-tractor trailer and SUV at Highway 30 and Fullerton Road. One person involved in the crash was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Lanes of travel were limited in both directions while crews worked to clean up debris from the roadway.

Late afternoon Wednesday, Multnomah County Road crews closed a portion of Northwest Logie Trail Road east of Skyline Boulevard where ice and snow were causing difficulties for vehicles, a media release stated. The roadway is too steep and narrow to allow for plowing or sanding.

COURTESY PHOTO: CASEY JOLISSAINT - A photo submitted by Casey Jolissaint presents an artistic look at two snowflakes caught in a spider web in her St. Helens backyard.   Throughout the week, overnight lows in Columbia County dipped below freezing, prompting the volunteer-run Columbia County Warming Center to open its doors several nights in a row.

During the entire month of February, the center was open 16 nights, making it one of the busiest months this season. The center was open five nights in December and three in January. It is typically open on nights when the temperature drops below 32 deg-

rees between Dec. 1 and March 1.

Heather Johnson, the housing department program manager with Community Action Team, said she is working with volunteers to extend the season if possible.

"At this point I have reached out to the volunteers and we are taking it one day at a time," Johnson stated in an email Wednesday. "As of today we are nearly staffed through the weekend and we will continue to do our best to work on it."

For more information about the warming center, call 503-410-5800.

Forecasts from the National Weather Service show clearing over the weekend, with little precipitation and the possibility of sunshine. Overnight lows are still expected to be below freezing early next week, however.

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