THUNDERBOLTS AND LIGHTNING! VERY, VERY FRIGHTENING!

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times! Snow after Christmas just isn’t attractive or in any way desirable!

Anyone who lives in or near the Portland Metropolitan Area knows that this past winter has been one of the worst winters we have seen in years. Between December 8th and January 17th, we saw five storms, the combination of snow and ice. Usually around these parts, we see not much more than a few billion buckets of rain.

This winter has been very eventful and exceedingly wet. Back when the snow was covering everything, my mother made mention to me that when the snow melts that it will do one or both of the following: “We will get some flooding” and how we will also get some landslides.

Both claims were prophetic. In various counties we had flooding that overflowed our rivers and streams which led to some of our farmland to be underwater.  We also had some landslides. One of these more prevalent disasters took place on the eastbound ramp from Oregon Zoo to U.S. 26.

As of Thursday, March 9th, the landslide closed the ramp which was put under the process of cleanup. The rest of the freeway was open for use, but drivers just had to use some alternate routes.

This brings me to my next topic. City preparation for disaster. My friend Nicky had spent a few years of her life in Texas. When she was there she told me that Texans typically drive in the rain as bad or worse than Oregonians do in the snow.

racecarweird

courtesy of paperblog.com

Now, driving “worse” is bad no matter how you shake it. When you are behind the wheel of a car, you are operating one of the deadliest weapons known to man that is owned by private citizens. You have the power to kill yourself, anyone in the car with you and anyone in the surrounding cars. Some drivers just don’t understand this, that their lives literally hang in the balance when they are on the road. The law requires that if conditions are less than ideal, that you have to be more careful with the way you drive. The Oregon Driver’s Manual says that “The basic rule [of driving] states you must drive at a speed that is reasonable and cautious for existing conditions. The basic rule applies on all roads at all times.” This means that if you are driving recklessly, you are willfully breaking the law and endangering lives.

Portland has shown in weeks past to be unequipped to deal with cold and icy conditions. When I was out and about with my uncle, he and I saw numerous people’s cars sliding around on the road like an ice skating rink. There are countless videos on YouTube that show just how bad things got. A lot of the reason why things got so bad is because for one thing, Portland didn’t start de-icing the roads until after all of the initial accidents and all. Furthermore, countless Portland businesses shut down during that time.

When I was at the bank working, many of our customers have been coming in since December letting us know just how much their businesses have suffered. They are still playing a game of catchup and it’s all due to a lack of preparation. Sure, not all of the blame goes on the city, some goes on the shoulders of our citizenry, but there should still be some sort of state mandate that requires greater preparation for events such as flooding, winter storms, and heatwaves considering how we see all of the above as part of our nearly unpredictable weather pattern.

-Loren Riddle

WR 122-18

Featured image courtesy of patch.com

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