Portland’s Epic Snow Storm

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I apologize for the delay in posting but Portland is going through one of our biggest snow storms of the last 20-30 years.  The blog has taken a back seat to long treks to work and the joy and wonder of walking and shooting hundreds of pictures in the snow.

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Iconic Portland sign framed by snow.

We got over a foot in the space of about 8 hours.  And it all happened over night so imagine the joy (or horror depending on your outlook) of waking up to this magical new world.  It has been a challenge to get around – the car has been in the garage and I am getting a lot of good walking done.

It has been unusually cold so nothing has melted since the snow fell last Tuesday night.  And we have had a beautiful “wolf” moon – so the moon sets and night time walks have been spectacular.

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The West Hills from the roof of my hospital.

Words really can’t describe the beauty so I will let the pictures tell the story.

On the first morning of the storm – we received about 12 inches and it was still snowing.  Getting to work was challenging – Portland is just not that prepared for these kinds of snow events.  When I finally got on a bus headed to work – our bus got stuck behind another bus (see photograph below).

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A big shout out to Tri-Met our local mass transit company – they weren’t perfect but they got a lot of Portlanders to work, to needed healthcare, to events – the bus drivers did their best under stressful conditions.

Oregon Mountain Snow Day

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Mt. Hood Meadows

Coast, Columbia Gorge, mountains, wine country – such abundance and so much to be grateful for here in Oregon.  In 2016 I did a lot of exploring and only barely scratched the surface.  I can’t wait to keep going in 2017…

New Years Eve – my older brother Phil and I opted to explore Oregon’s Mt. Hood ski area.  He skied and I pulled a camera out of the bag that I haven’t used for a while.  I need to sell it but like an ex-lover, I wanted one more day together.

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Crystal cone

We went to Mt. Hood Meadows Nordic Center – full of friendly, fit, sober, Subaru owners!

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Big brother looking awesome!

The True Spirit of Christmas

We have had quite a stretch of wintry weather in Portland over the past week.  When the snow started to fall on Wednesday it started an epic traffic jam throughout the city.

I work at a 523 bed hospital on the west side of the city.  There is a range of hills between the hospital and downtown.  There are limited ways up and over those hills – and Wednesday afternoon’s snowfall combined with everyone desperately trying to get home exactly at 3:00 was too much.

Tales of commutes taking 7-8 hours were common.  Just getting off our campus was taking hours since all the streets surrounding the hospital were jammed.  At one point I went to the parking lot and hospital roads with a big bag of treats to keep these poor souls fed.  I handed out over 200 treats to grateful colleagues.

I was helping with logistics of getting critical clinical staff into work or finding a bed for those who were staying the night.  I witnessed how hard our support teams work to make sure our employees, our guests and our patients are taken care of.  In this blog post I have included pictures of some of those amazing people.

When we realized people couldn’t get home – our kitchen staff went to work cooking up pans and pans of macaroni and cheese.  For guests who couldn’t pay – we gladly gave them a free meal.  We shuttled staff and guests to the nearest transit center so they could get a train home.  Our linen team put together overnight packs with sheets, blankets, towels and toiletry items.

This isn’t my first winter storm event while working at the hospital but it goes down as one of the most memorable and the most heart warming.  The spirit of Christmas is alive and well.

Tale of Two Cities – Ice Storm Part 2

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That sweet little snow storm I was alluding to in the last post – turned into the ice storm I was dreading and hit Portland hard.  We started with enough snow to cancel school on Thursday.  And forecasters stated the cold air was going to move out early Friday.  But it didn’t do that… and more precipitation and cold winds created a thick icy coat over everything.  Every tree sagged from the additional weight with devastating results.

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One of many broken trees along NE Alameda, Portland, Oregon

And the city just wouldn’t warm up and two days of carrying that weight is too long for many trees to bear.  

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This tree imploded.

But in my neighborhood just a few miles south – and a few degrees warmer – it was a much different story.  Just good old fashioned Oregon rain.

Its sad to see so many trees go down but that is nature taking its course.  We have had ice storms in this area since the Columbia Basalt Field rose up above the river to create that beautiful gorge. 

Ice storms can be devastating but they sure are beautiful.