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Vancouver couple stuck in snow for 12 hours in Portland's West Hills Monday

Michael and Lisa Silk left a friend's house just after midnight on Monday. When their Prius slid off the road, the couple spent hours waiting for assistance.

PORTLAND, Ore. — After spending 12 hours stuck in Portland's West Hills, a Vancouver couple was rescued by the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) and Portland Police Bureau (PPB) around noon on Monday. 

Michael and Lisa Silk's Prius slid off the road and into a hillside ditch on Northwest Germantown Road near Skyline Boulevard as the snow began to the fall early that morning. Trees blocking roads and treacherous conditions in that area made it challenging for first responders to get to them.

"Luckily we were only going 20 miles an hour, but it just went right into a hillside," Michael Silk said. 

"Even if we had moved the car [and] got the car out of the ditch, we couldn't go anywhere," said Lisa Silk. "We heard the limbs cracking over our heads and falling and we had snowballs hitting the roof."

The Silks said they stayed in the running car until daylight after calling dispatchers, who told the stranded couple that rescuers were unable to reach them right away. A tow truck company they called couldn't reach them, with the roads closed to all drivers.

"All of our winter stuff was already out of the car, because it was like April," they said. "We didn't want to get stranded outside at 33 degrees, with no winter clothes, so yeah, we'd better stay in the car until we have to get out."

When there's an unexpected snow day you have to work together to problem-solve unforeseen challenges. Yesterday,...

Posted by Washington County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Before noon, the couple said they got a call from Sergeant Jesse Baker with WCSO.

"There was a call holding in our dispatch center saying that Portland police had requested assistance for a couple that was stranded up on Germantown Road," Baker said. "It looked like they had been there overnight. They were surrounded by trees and a lot of snow, but they were okay, they just couldn't get out."

"He said, 'I will get to you,'" Lisa recalled. "And we were thinking, 'No, you will not get to us, there's trees everywhere.'"

Along with a PPB officer and a deputy, Baker made his way to them despite all the obstacles. 

"We were going to do everything we could. Even if we had to walk down there to get them, we were going to get them," he said.

After hearing nearby chainsaws, the couple got out of the Prius. 

"We knew we were getting close to someone... As we came around, [Baker] said, 'Are you the Prius people?' And we said, 'Yes, that's us!'"

The trek out was just as challenging as the trek in. With the help a neighbor who had a tractor, they were finally in the clear, documenting the occasion with a photo. 

"We all look very happy because I think we were all happy," Lisa said. "We got out of there, we had a successful thing happen."

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