No winter snowstorm, but slick streets lead to East Portland wrecks

We call it “the blizzard that never came” ‚Äì but see why careless or unskillful drivers in the Wilkes area kept colliding with one another anyway ‚Ķ

With sleet falling at the Portland Airport Sheraton Hotel the night before, covering cars with a blanket of white, we guessed a blizzard was on the way on January 11.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Gazing out the back window of our office, it looked as if January 11 would bring Portland the promised, hoped-for, dreaded major winter storm. Thick fluffy flakes fell, then stuck to trees, sidewalks, and vehicles.

The forecast of an icy storm closed down Portland Public and Parkrose schools. However, although the morning freeze made driving to work dicey, it certainly didn’t shut down outer East Portland.

Shortly after that “high energy snow event”, as weather forecasters called it, the sun broke through the clouds as we looked out our office window.

Parents with school-age children scrambled to find childcare for their kids. But, the kids didn’t seem to mind at all having the day off.

“This is great,” said Kevin, a Sacramento School student, trying to slide down a small slope dusted with heavy, wet snow.

While many schools closed for the day, like Parkrose Sacramento School, the dire predictions didn’t phase David Douglas schools — they were open for education.

Overall, accidents were few across outer East Portland. PDOT trucks worked through the night spreading de-icer and sand in many of the traditional slick spots.

Vehicles zoomed along NE 148th Avenue, oblivious to treacherous patches of ice on the roadway just east of Glendoveer.

The main trouble spot was NE 148th Avenue in the Wilkes neighborhood. The combination of tall trees, shading the road, and the curves along the east end of Glendoveer became the main trouble spot for the day.

Even though the roadway had been sanded, the icy conditions–combined with fast, perhaps careless driving–caused one accident after another during the morning hours.

Upset that we’d witnessed the aftermath of her SUV smacking into this parked car, the out-of-control driver demanded we not photograph her.

The driver of a massive SUV looked upset when we came upon the accident scene at which it looked like she careened into a parked car. She wouldn’t tell us her name, nor permit us to photograph her nor her vehicle. “I was only going the speed limit,” she protested. “They should know better! These people shouldn’t park cars along the street when it’s icy.”

Later in the day, just blocks away, another SUV slid on a patch of ice on NE Halsey St., near 146th Ave., jumped the curb. and rolled on its side.

Lessons to learn
On days when the temperature dips below the freezing point, expect icy conditions on some roads ‚Äì especially if the pavement is shaded by tall trees during the day and can’t dry out.

And, in the case of that anonymous lady mentioned earlier, best not to park on the street when she and her SUV are fish-tailing by!

¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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