All I can say is "wow"...I showed photos of the snow yesterday. I was very lucky and worked from home. So, all I saw was the pretty snow and winter wonderland in my yard, albeit the birds were a little frantic in their feeding.
Today I checked for bus winter storm alerts and watched the local news to make sure it was safe to come into the office. Since I can do everything from home--it is crazy to waste a lot of time getting downtown in bad weather. All looked okay even if my street looked pretty bad. I knew there were few hills to the park&ride so it shouldn't be bad. And the bus would do the rest of the driving from there.
When I got to the P&R, I nearly couldn't get into the parking lot due to an incline but finally managed. Lots of cars there with snow on them. I made note since it is a holiday week and usually there are few cars there overnight. Apparently these were cars from overnight--that were parked there yesterday and abandoned due to the storm.
I put a link on my blurb about "the worst traffic in 20 years" video--that was a shock when I watched it last night. Being out of it and not watching any news I didn't realize how bad the commute had been. Talking to a few riders at the bus-stop, I discovered it was a nightmare. One guy told me the bus basically dumped all the riders roughly 1 1/2 miles from the P&R due to stalled traffic blocking the street. Apparently people were abandoning cars due to running out of gas or simply being unable to move them on the icy streets. I have no idea what people might have done who were incapable of walking 1 1/2 miles to get to their cars. Amazing.
Another story from two women who are regulars. Apparently they left downtown around 3:30 (some businesses were even letting folks go home early due to the storm). They spent over 6 hours on the bus getting to their P&R (my old one). The freeway was a parking lot and all the back streets were full of cars unable to move. They told me stories about the driver singing to them to keep them entertained for 6 hours. He also was considerate enough to stop twice to allow them a bathroom break. One place was an Audi dealership. The first couple of people asked if they could use the facilities. After that the rest just came in and went. I guess the dealership was pretty good about it--one woman has a Jag and got a card to have her car serviced there so maybe they got some business. I think the other location was a service station so it wasn't as notable to ask. The driver told some riders he is retiring this week--I'll bet yesterday cinched that decision!!
I can't even imagine what six hours on a very crowded (apparently they had 2-3 busloads on the bus since several buses cancelled) bus must be like. Still--the riders were pretty good natured about it. They left downtown at 3:30 and got home at 9:30 or 10 PM. Amazing.
The funniest story that came out of this bus-ride was a rider who got on at the last stop before the bus left the city. They said he got on the bus and complained about it being 3 minutes early (an early bus is a bus that might be missed). These folks had been waiting and sitting on the bus for a long time. Vicki, the one telling me the story, said everyone on the bus busted out laughing that he was upset about it being early.
I also heard stories of people driving back to Portland from Salem (roughly 40 miles). It took over 5 hours. Supposedly there was a 24-mile gridlock. Some folks ran out of gas--others just abandoned cars that couldn't move. As I have said before, Portland isn't set up to manage snow and bad roads like MN. Snow generally stops things but yesterday's storm was a surprise. They had forecast some snow but most were saying a dusting of one inch. Most areas got 3-5 inches. I guess it could have been worse. If it hadn't been a holiday week there would have probably been even more traffic on the streets.
I'm very grateful I worked from home yesterday and missed it all. Having to walk a mile and one half in wet snow in shoes not meant for slush and dealing with traffic or a 6-hour bus ride certainly doesn't sound like much fun. I will give all those riders credit for taking it in stride. Maybe the holiday spirit is still in effect. Or it is simply the easy way of most Portlanders.