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December 25, 2008

Time for a new motto, perhaps?

In the past week and change, Portland has received somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 inches of snow. It didn't all come at once; it would snow for a day, be clear for a few days, snow again. And yet, since the snow first started falling on December 14, most streets here have yet to be cleared. They're calling this the worst storm in 40 years.

Here are a few fun facts about my first winter storm experience in a place that sucks at winter:

-In the past two weeks I have had four days off (out of seven possible working days) due to weather related conditions. During the first three there was maybe a few inches that stuck to the ground.

-No one here owns a shovel. That means no one bothered removing snow from their sidewalks. That means once the temp got above freezing during the day the snow would melt, and then harden into a citywide skating rink by nightfall.

-Salting the roads is illegal here due to environmental concerns. One would think plowing was also illegal, since I saw but a handful of the machines during the whole of Winter Storm 08.

-Tire chains are not only legal, but they were required on all state highways.

-They finally decided to sand and snowplow Interstate 5, which is the state's main north-south thoroughfare, on Tuesday. The machines started rolling out during rush hour. Some poor people were stuck on the highway for upwards of five hours trying to get home for the holidays. Some ran out of gas.

-Mass transit has been a crap shoot. Two of our three train lines stopped running, including the one that goes to the airport. The usually handy Transit Tracker arrival time phone line told me last night that the buses on the line I intended to take "may or may not be running."

-Flights in and out of PDX were canceled for three days, evidently because every airline ran out of de-icing fluid.

Were it not for the kind Portland citizens who helped push the boyf's car out of snowbanks not once, not twice, but thrice (and who joined him in pushing out a car that inexplicably chose to drive down train tracks last night), I might have started to sour on this fair city.

As it is, I think they might want to change their motto to something else besides "The City that Works," at least for three months out of the year.

TP note: Happy Chanukah to my fellow members of the tribe and Merry Christmas to all you goyim.