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Monday, January 28, 2008
Photos from an uneventful snow-clogged commute
Under normal circumstances an inch of snow on the ground would be grounds to stay home from work. Unfortunately, my company's uptight attendance policy turns what would typically qualify as a snow day into a crap shoot. Would this amount of snowfall count or earn me a dreaded "occurrence"? My attendance record as of late hasn't been so hot so it was a chance I couldn't afford to take. Calling in sick from London last September may have allowed me to scratch a line off my bucket list but it isn't doing jack squat for me in the bleak midwinter of 2008.
So I bit the bullet and set out 30 minutes earlier than usual this morning, expecting to run into pandemonium and chaos and this. Any amount of snowfall in Portland can lead to a nightmarish commute. The tracks of what may or may not have been a lone coyote in my front yard somehow served as an foreboding sign of what was to come.
Except that everything went smoothly. Few motorists were running the not-so icy gauntlet of Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway at 7 AM so I made it to work a full 25-minutes early. With the exception of a poorly-executed right turn that caused me to skid a bit, it was completely uneventful. I didn't see any cars abandoned on the side of the road or any jack-knifed Tri-Met buses. Instead, I spotted several joggers darting down snow-covered sidewalks. Even the MAX seemed to be running without a problem and Portland Public Schools, which almost always closes for any measurable amount of snowfall, settled for a two-hour late opening. That said, I'm glad I didn't have to pull down the driveway pictured above onto SW Terwilliger this morning.
So this begs the question: how many inches of snow does it take to shut down Portland for a full day? A storm last year dumped, I want to say, four inches on the ground, effectively bringing the city to its knees for roughly 24 hours. If I had to guess I'd set the bar at two inches. Today's measly inch or so may as well have been gone and forgotten by 10 AM.