Snowplows rolled at 4:30 a.m. to clear side streets for morning commuters in East Multnomah County.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: RANDY LAUER  - Lauer uses this city snowplow to clear the streets of Wood Village. To get to work, he drives a 4x4 Ford truck. Snow Day? Not for Randy Lauer.

The public works employee in Wood Village began his work day around 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

Snow descended throughout the night in East Multnomah County — and somebody's got to plow and sand those streets. Lauer, who serves as Troutdale city councilor, drew the proverbial short straw in the four-person department.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Even the bronze teddy bear in downtown Gresham was comfy under a blanket of snow. "It wasn't too bad for Winter Snowpocalypse 2018," Lauer joked. "I plowed for about four or five hours, and then I think I took my first break."

An extended streak of mild, dry, even spring-like weather since January was abruptly broken this week when the mercury fell below freezing, inviting several inches of snow to fall across the Gresham area between Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Rising temperatures on Wednesday melted much of the approximately 4 inches that fell beginning Tuesday afternoon, but another 3 inches or so descended Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Several crashes were reported Thursday morning on Interstate 84 in the Gresham area, including incidents at 223rd and 181st avenues.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: CHRIS KEIZUR - Snow covers a car in downtown Gresham.Snowy and icy conditions closed city buildings and East Multnomah County school districts on Wednesday and Thursday, with many evening activities canceled as a result.

Things went smoothly for city of Gresham crews — especially with the experience from the snowy winter of 2017 to lean on. Starting Tuesday, crews worked 12-hour shifts to keep roadways clear.

Between priority 1 and 2 roads, determined by the number of drivers who use them, crews cleared more than 120 miles.

"The lower elevation roads look great," said Elizabeth Coffey, Gresham's communications manager. "Some of the higher hills that are shaded may still see icy spots."

Gresham does not use road salt, but crews utilized a mix of anti-icer, de-icer and sand to keep the roads traversable. With freezing-level temperatures still in the forecast, the city is keeping a small crew ready to be deployed.

In Wood Village, Lauer's focus was prepping the quiet residential neighborhoods for the morning commute.

"(Multnomah) County did a really good job with Wood Village and Troutdale this year. We didn't allow it to sit for so long," he noted. "There was no one on the roads, which was fantastic."

OUTLOOK PHOTO: STEVE KEIZUR - Kids sledding!Schools add wiggle room in their calendars for snow days, but if days off stretch beyond a certain point, those hours must be made up by adding days at the end of the year or cutting planned days off.

"Determination of whether any time needs to be made up happens further along in the school year toward the end," said Stephanie Field, Reynolds district spokeswoman. "We are hoping this is the last of it and our weather cooperates from here on out."

NWS forecasts more snow accumulation of a half-inch or less, after 10 a.m. Friday, with highs around 36 degrees.

Rain is expected for Saturday and Sunday with highs in the low 40s. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: RANDY LAUER  - Randy Lauer snapped this photo of the sun rising on a snowy Wood Village on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

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