PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Much of Portland’s eastside and east county saw heavy snow Wednesday evening, leading to a commuting nightmare with traffic backed up, slushy streets and road closures.
Long lines of cars were bumper to bumper as traffic was slow-moving in Portland’s eastside, from the 84 to side streets like Glisan and Belmont.
Much of the delays involved traffic moving east from the city center. Those few braving the commute on foot say they were surprised to see just how much snow came down.
“I was not expecting this much snow. When I left work earlier, everyone was getting a bit panicked and I just looked to the weather report. Down in Clackamas, it was a little bit better so I was completely bewildered as I started to head home. It just got worse and worse,” said Ewen Harrison, who was heading to work nearby at Providence Portland. “As it gets icy it’ll be more dangerous. I’m seeing too many people out driving. Hopefully, they’ll get home safely and stop.”
As the night progressed, winds and blowing snow made visibility tough. On side streets around the hospital, many cars were stuck heading up the hills, tires spinning as some put on chains in the middle of the road. Others attempted to drive with no visibility, not bothering to clean off their windows before heading down the messy streets.
Other parts of east Multnomah County also saw the brunt of the heavy snow with roads like Buxton Road closed early into the afternoon between Southwest Cherry Park Road to the Historic Columbia River Highway because of icy conditions. Gresham Police say they responded to multiple crashes, spun out cars, and cars into trees and street signs, making it hard to get to 911 calls, calling the east county roads hazardous and urging people to stay where they’re at if at all possible.
Heading into the overnight hours, many of those snow-packed side streets are getting slick as the dropping temperatures turn any slush into ice. The cold temps will continue through the morning commute so avoid driving if you don’t have to get out overnight or on Thursday morning. If you do have to drive, make sure you have snow tires or chains, and supplies in case you get stuck, and take things slow.