Long cleanup ahead after historic Portland snowfall

Crews begin clearing trees and branches

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Thursday, Portland began the daunting task of cleaning up after a historic winter storm left debris and a foot of snow across the city.

The snow has stopped falling, but the weather is expected to remain cold until Sunday, keeping much of the snow on the ground for a few days. Both Gov. Brown and Mayor Wheeler declared a state of emergency.

Clearing roads

On Thursday morning, some roadways around the Portland area were still covered in packed snow, and many neighborhood streets were unplowed.

Trucks from Seattle were helping the city and state transportation departments clear snow.  

Trees fell across the city, some blocking roads. Crews were working to clear downed trees Thursday.  

Restoring power

Downed trees also knocked out power across Portland, with tens of thousands of customers going dark on Wednesday. Pacific Power and Portland General and Electric crews traversed the city, repairing lines and restoring power.

The outages were mostly restored by Thursday, but parts of Linnton in Northwest Portland were still dark after losing power for two days.

Repairing roofs, windows

The heavy snow caused a warehouse roof to collapse. Falling trees broke some windows and handrails, including at the historic Multnomah County Library downtown.  

Even worse roof problems happened in Central Oregon. An elementary school’s roof collapsed, causing the entire district to shut down for inspections.

Other problems

Crews had difficulty not just cleaning up, but also responding to crises. A fire in Gresham proved hard to fight due to the snow, as firefighters had trouble driving fast. When they arrived, the fire hydrant was frozen. 

A cross-country skier trying to have some fun in the snow had to be rescued, after he fell through ice at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Portland.

The snow is expected to melt by early next week, but the rapid melt and expected rain could cause significant flooding. 

PHOTOS: Snow in Bend  |  Sun rises over snowy Oregon  |  Storm blankets Portland  |  Kids in the snow  |  Pets in the snow  |  Snowmen  |  Storm brings down trees

(© 2017 KGW)


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