PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland metro area received another half-foot of snow overnight while an inch of ice accumulated on Marion County roads. The ice and snow has closed roads, brought down trees and power lines and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of people from southwest Washington down through Salem.
Here's a look at what KGW reporters are seeing as they're out covering the winter storm:
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Volunteers at Blanchet House help those in need
KGW's Joe Raineri spoke with people at the Blanchet House in Portland to see what the need has been like this winter. Volunteers were busy Saturday passing out blankets, jackets and even tents. At lunch volunteers handed out more than 460 meals to people who were looking for a warm meal. Over the last week they have handed out a couple hundred blankets.
Jon Seibert, volunteer manager at Blanchet House in Portland, said the need is high this year. “We’re seeing guests who need our meal program every day, three meals a day, six days a week and there’s not a day that goes by that we’re not seeing new faces." Seibert expects that number of people in need to continue to grow.
Trees and branches down across the Portland metro area
Trees fall on Salem homes
KGW's Christine Pitawanich spoke to a Salem homeowner who was awoken early Saturday morning by a tree falling on his home. He wasn't alone. The weight from ice brought by Friday night's storm played a role in numerous trees falling in the area.
Diego Lugli lives on the south side of Salem.
“It was a good like five seconds where there was this rumbling sound, shaking...I heard the cracking and smashing of the top floor,” recalled Lugli.
The top floor is where his daughter sleeps. Right away, he said he heard her screaming. He ran to check on her and said everyone in the home, all four family members, were OK. They feel fortunate considering all the damage.
Morning after ice storm in mid-Willamette Valley
KGW's Katherine Cook, who spent Friday night in Salem, said many people, including herself, woke up to no power. A drive through the city showed downed trees.
Cook said many people in and around Woodburn found themselves isolated; cut off from heat, power, internet and in some cases, the main roads. Ice coated every part of the region, bending trees to its will and snapping utility poles.
On Butteville Road NE in Woodburn, the ice broke off a large limb from local resident Don Shade’s 100-year-old maple tree. The limb took out Shade’s gutter and crashed into his fence before falling across the road.
“I went out and took my ax and chopped it back until I got it off the road,” said Shade. “I would've used a chainsaw but mine are all electric — we get our electricity back, I'm in business!”
At the Shell station in Aurora, dozens of cars lined up around the block to get gas. Most needed it for gas-powered generators they were using to heat their homes. Most other stations in the area were closed.
“It's been pretty hectic. No power, we need gas to get our generator going,” said Rian Blair, who drove there from Gervais hoping to find an open gas station. “I’m pretty grateful. Hopefully they have enough gas for us.”
Ice in Clackamas County leads to all sorts of problems
Ice-coated trees fell on power lines and cars across Clackamas County overnight Friday into Saturday. The sheriff’s office tweeted several warnings to residents, letting them know to be vigilant.
Jehuda Arm, who lives just outside Canby, knows all too well how real that risk is. He came out of his home Saturday morning to drive his Subaru to work.
“I’ve never missed a day, so I'm trying to keep it that way,” he said, adding he was optimistic about the drive since his car handles well in snow and ice.
But Arm’s commute was doomed from the start: several large branches had come crashing down on and around his car overnight. KGW photographer Eric Patterson helped him clear the debris off, revealing the damage left behind.
“My windshield is broken. It took a while to start,” he said, pointing to other dents and scratches on the car. “It’s crazy.”
Arm sat in the car for more than 30 minutes trying to get the ice on his windshield to thaw. Eventually, he came to the conclusion he’d have to miss a day of work. No one would be out shopping for furniture anyway, he noted.
“Don't come out. It's bad,” he said to drivers across the metro area. “Don’t come out.”
'Downed tree after downed tree after downed tree after downed tree'
Maggie Vespa was out early Saturday morning, checking out the damage across the Portland metro area, including in Tualatin, Wilsonville, Oregon City and other areas. She shared video of downed trees and roads covered in snow and ice.
She also spoke to a driver on a Lake Oswego road crew coming off of a 12-hour shift. He said it's definitely not the worst storm he's ever seen. "It's snow. It's not ice," he said.
Keely Chalmers also shared video of downtown Portland on Saturday morning. She said the roads were snowy and saw a lot of stuck cars. "Walking is your safest bet right about now."