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Man frees more than 20 drivers stuck on icy Portland off-ramp during storm

For seven hours, Jon Gilbert worked to free as many stranded drivers as he could. He stayed there until 6 a.m. "Everyone was so thankful," he said.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A good Samaritan helped free more than 20 stranded drivers from a slick off-ramp during Wednesday night’s near-record setting snowstorm. Jon Gilbert owns Honest Jon’s Auto, enjoys four wheeling and helping people.

“It's just kind of who I am,” Gilbert said. “Every time there's a big snowstorm and ice storm, I'll just throw the service light on and some tow straps and shackles and just try to help everybody I can.”

On Wednesday night, Gilbert’s friend, Alec Higley, called him from Northeast 82nd  Avenue and Columbia Boulevard. Higley and more than 20 other drivers were stranded there on the icy off-ramp.

Credit: Jon Gilbert, Alec Higley
Jon Gilbert helped more than 20 drivers during Portland snow storm

"I had been sitting for about seven hours,” Higley said. “[Gilbert] brought food. He’s a good guy.”

When Gilbert saw the other stranded drivers, he decided to help them too. He freed several sedans, mini vans and even a pick-up truck.

“The off-ramp there was just absolutely decimated,” Gilbert said. “Everyone was so thankful, people got kids at home and everything.”

Gilbert worked until 6:00 a.m. to free more than 20 vehicles.

“You could say he was just enjoying himself, just making everyone happy and just helping,” Higley said.

Credit: Jon Gilbert, Alec Higley
Jon Gilbert seen helping drivers were stranded on an icy off-ramp.

The only vehicle Gilbert couldn’t free was a semi-truck carrying six tons of freight.

“We put in a valiant effort on it,” Gilbert said. “Just the weight of those big rigs and 2-3 inches of ice was too much.”

At the wheel of the truck was a woman named Mary. She told KGW she’s grateful that Gilbert even tried to help her.

“What a guy,” Mary said. “That's what we're here to do, right? Help each other out. Sometimes in society it feels like we've forgotten that. Jon helps you remember.”

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