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City, schools and Lake Oswego residents prepare for a major winter storm that never materializes

REVIEW PHOTO: J. BRIAN MONIHAN - A dusting of snow brightens a hillside in the Stafford area on Saturday. Some of Lake Oswego's higher elevations saw wintry weather over the weekend, but most of the city remained snow-free.It was supposed to be One Of The Biggest Winter Storms Of All Time. As much as 14 inches of snow on the valley floor, forecasters said, and temperatures that wouldn't climb out of the 30s for a week.

And so Lake Oswego prepared.

Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, school officials closed their buildings and fields and canceled all weekend activities. So did the Parks & Rec Department. Lake Oswego's Public Works crews shifted into high gear, working 12-hour shifts around the clock to keep roads sanded and de-iced.

Residents took the warnings seriously too, descending on local grocery stores to stock up for the snowbound days ahead.

"This is a pain," Randy Linnton said as he waited Friday evening for a parking spot in the jam-packed lot at the downtown Safeway store. "But after this, the plan is to just hunker down and enjoy the snow. I sure hope those weather guys are right."

Sorry, Randy.

REVIEW PHOTO: J. BRIAN MONIHAN - There's no denying the peaceful beauty of a snowfall in the country, as visitors discovered Saturday at Luscher Farm.Sure, places like Gresham and east Multnomah County got lots of snow overnight Friday. (The official total at Portland International Airport was just under 5 inches.) And yes, snow did fall locally — as much as 2 inches in parts of Mountain Park and the higher elevations around the lake. But for most of Lake Oswego — indeed, for most of the Portland metro area to the west and south — the predicted snowpocalypse just never materialized.

The reason, the National Weather Service said: A river of warmer air flowed up from the south, keeping colder temperatures and wintry weather at bay. By Sunday, the only thing falling from the sky was rain.

That's not to say, however, that Lake Oswego wasn't prepared if conditions had worsened. Most of Lake Oswego's major arterials, collector roads and known problem areas were pre-treated Friday with Magnesium Chloride, an anti-icing agent. Public Works crews also prepped five snow plows and sanders, with about 5,000 tons of sand on hand.

(During a storm, crews give first priority to major arterials like Country Club and Boones Ferry roads. Secondary roads that feed into the main streets and bus routes are also a priority. Neighborhood roads are cleared only if time and conditions permit, according to streets supervisor Jim Bateman.)

Meanwhile, Lake Oswego Fire Department officials reached out Friday to their network of Community Emergency Response Team members, urging them to be ready to lend a hand to neighbors in need. Nearly 2,000 Lake Oswego residents have been trained by the LOFD to respond to emergencies when local resources are overwhelmed or are working at their maximum capacity.

City and school district officials kept residents informed, with the latest, up-to-the-minute closure information posted online at ci.oswego.or.us and losdschools.org. And if conditions had really worsened?

"We will be in touch through email, push notifications, texts, TV and radio station alerts and Twitter," said Christine Moses, the LOSD's director of communications. "If we cancel school on Monday, staff and parents will also receive a phone call."

Needless to say, that was a phone call that never came.

Contact Lake Oswego Review Editor Gary M. Stein at 503-479-2376 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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