White stuff snarls traffic, cancels school, curtails business in Forest Grove

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The four-day snow and ice event that hit the Portland area last Thursday had local fire and police crews scrambling, schools closing and folks slipping and sliding in cars and on icy side streets.

Over the weekend “we assisted multiple motorists who became stuck or stalled, [and attended to] minor accidents,” said Capt. Mike Herb, spokesman for the Forest Grove Police Department. Fender-benders were “still happening” Monday morning, Herb noted, as drivers attempted to maneuver through deep slush clogging the streets. by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Joel Vandyke and his co-workers at Les Schwab Forest Grove Tire Cetner were busy Friday installing snow tires and selling chains.

A convoy of snowplows from the Oregon Department of Transportation rolled through town around mid-morning Monday, assisting the city’s front-loaders and dump trucks with ice and snow removal. By Tuesday, crews were still working to clear snow away to create parking spots along downtown streets.

Police officers also warned folks away from a tree that partially fell over the roadway at 19th Avenue and C Street until Forest Grove public works personnel could remove it.

The worst weather event since winter of 2008 — when several feet of snow covered western Washington County over a two-week period, stranding motorists and closing schools — also put a crimp in the bottom lines at some businesses in the downtown core, while others cashed in on the unusual weather. by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Buses at Forest Grove High School arrived early to pick up students last Thursday as snowfall caused classes to adjourn around mid-day.

Urban Decanter, Little Monkey Deli, Maggie’s Buns and Caffe Montecassino were all open and had steady streams of customers Thursday and Friday, with people stopping in for food and drinks — and to get out of the cold.

Christina Jarrett of OK Floral on Pacific Avenue said commerce was slow Friday, causing her to think about leaving early as the snow continued to blanket the area.

The Forest Grove library was open and reported a parade of patrons in and out all day Feb. 6, many returning some books and checking out others, possibly getting prepared to hunker down over the weekend.

Meanwhile, calls for assistance were brisk at the police and fire stations on Ash Street.

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue rigs went out on four weather-related crashes that produced two injuries at the end of last week, according to Fire Marshal Dave Nemeyer. “We had four crashes today with no injuries,” he reported Friday afternoon.

Phones were ringing regularly at the police department as the powdery snow turned front yards into winter playgrounds and made driving through the city tricky to treacherous.

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Buses at Forest Grove High School arrived early to pick up students last Thursday as snowfall caused classes to adjourn around mid-day. “We responded to numerous non-injury crashes — I think six in the last 24 hours,” Herb said Friday afternoon, as the second round of white stuff began falling in town. “We responded to calls of folks driving erratically and ‘doing cookies’ in fields and some parking lots.”

And, Herb noted, his office fielded complaints from citizens about people in dune buggies and ATVs on roadways. “We had one elude an officer,” he said.

After Forest Grove schools let out early Thursday due to inclement weather, police looked for a missing child who apparently missed a bus connection. “He was located,” said Herb.

Last Friday a concerned citizen called police about “a family member who had not made it home,” Herb said. “The citizen reported she finally arrived home safely at 11:15 p.m.” by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Eighteen-month-old Jaxton Urie enjoyed a ride around Forest Grove's Roger Park on Friday morning with his dad, Chris Urie, his mom, Amanda Breiland and his grandmother, Amber Breiland.

Schools remained on hiatus Friday and Monday but reopened Tuesday morning. Kids and parents alike took to snowshoes and sleds to make the best of the unplanned free time on neighborhood hills.

At least one magnanimous teen, Forest Grove High School student Caleb White, went door-to-door, offering to shovel driveways for disabled or elderly folks for a very good price: Free.

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - This tractor braved the streets last week when snow covered Forest Grove. “He will be coming to do my parents’ driveway tomorrow,” Forest Grove resident Brenda Gleason Kintz said Monday. “He told me, ‘I’m doing this because it needs to be done, and I’m not going to let 60- or 80-year-old people go out and do it. It’s not right.’”

White told Kintz he’d “had a few guys stop and shake my hand.”

Not wishing the weather to interrupt their exercise regimens — whether outdoors in the elements or inside — workouts remained on the minds of at least some NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - Bailey Grigsby, 16, got in some snowboarding practice Friday afternoon behind Tom McCall Upper Elementary School. She was joined later by her younger sister, Megan. Both girls attend Forest Grove High School.

Nate Boyd from The Gym said traffic inside his business Friday “wasn’t crazy busy” but it was steady. “People were coming in and getting their workout today. I think people are going a little stir crazy."

Pacific Avenue was covered in snow in no time it seemed after the snow started Thursday.

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