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Another Portland Blog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

 

Welcome to Hoth

I've been living in Portland for most of my life and I can't recall a week of winter weather as nasty as this one. Ok, sure, there was an ice storm one year when I was in high school that knocked out power in my neighborhood for a week. Still, there seems to be no end in sight to the horrible onslaught of snow and ice (or what people in Denver might call "average December weather") that will keep the city frozen solid through at least Christmas, supposedly.

Anyway, here's some random anecdotes from what I've seen around town since the snow arrived on Sunday.


  • The cliche lives on. Oregonians can't drive in snow or ice to save their lives. I spent ten minutes stuck on an on-ramp to I-5 tonight and there was barely anything on the freeway to warrant all this overly cautious hysteria. Nonetheless, everyone insisted on driving 15 MPH. I used to believe all the storm-hype spoon fed by local news stations and refused to drive anywhere once snow was in the forecast. Then I finally got my hands on a set of snow tires. What a difference proper traction devices make.




  • I was drunk on enough snow tire-fueled hubris to head up to Council Crest, the highest point in Portland, this afternoon. I ran into problems when I attempted to scale an ice-covered, 45 -degree street. I made it halfway, spun my wheels and decided to head back down backwards. The PGE crew working along SW Fairmont didn't find this too amusing, especially when I came within five feet of plowing into one of their work trucks. Whoops.


  • I made it up to the park to find a group of teenagers with snowboards. They were taking turns hitting a ramp leading up to a picnic table. While I was standing there, one landed on his back, the other nearly cleared it and...then landed on his back. I wanted to get a photo of all of this reckless adolescent self-destruction but I've reached an age where I'm afraid of teenagers and live in perpetual fear of them ever setting foot on my lawn.




  • Also: check out this makeshift sled ramp. As you might have noticed, that's a large tree sitting ten feet in front of it. Brilliant!


  • What's with all of these guys that are walking around with ski poles? You can find them on nearly every sidewalk in Portland right now. Does that really help them maintain their balance on icy pavement? Or does it substantially increase the potential for injury? The likelihood of them impaling themselves after slipping? Much higher with ski poles than without.


  • Local schools will no doubt be shut down all week, thousands are refusing to go to work because the streets aren't safe but, despite everything, 20,000 people managed to make it down to the Rose Garden tonight for the Blazers' 32-point conquest over the Sacramento Kings. Could this mean that locals are finally getting the hang of driving in winter weather and might even stop using it as an excuse convenient excuse to call in sick and drive around town like terrified toddlers? Only time will tell.




  • Finally, here's a photo of Zoe the dog after a round of snowball fetch.

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