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NW communities cope with harsh weather

Wednesday, January 11, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

snow plow in actionPortlanders must drive with chains, or get ticketed. Tri-Cities’ freeway to Oregon remains closed. Gov. Kate Brown is close to declaring a state of emergency in central Oregon because of the dangerous levels of snow. And because Spokaneites aren’t parking correctly, many of their streets won’t get snowplowed.

Such are the struggles across the Northwest today as cold and snow torment communities from the California border north to Washington.

Parts of Portland were pounded by a foot of snow Tuesday and Wednesday, and abandoned vehicles vexed efforts to plow city streets. Oregon State Police urged drivers who ditch their cars to pull completely off the roadway before doing so.

PEMCO reminds motorists there’s a proper way to abandon your car in a snowstorm.

Spokane residents face a similar problem. City rules state that in heavy snowfall, residents who park on the street must move their cars to just one side – the side with even- or odd-numbered addresses, depending on the year.

snow-covered street and cars But currently, Spokane’s director of city streets says there’s “maybe 50% compliance,” according to a Spokesman-Review story.

And when residents don’t park properly, there’s no room to navigate snowplows. So neighborhood streets remain buried under snow.

Between Hanford and Yakima, 25 miles of State Highway 24 remain closed Wednesday because of high winds and snow drifts.

Farther south, Interstate 82 remains closed to southbound passenger cars between – ironically – Coffin Road near Tri-Cities and the Oregon border. Blowing, drifting snow and a 15-vehicle pileup closed the freeway in both directions Tuesday night.

Northwest residents should get a break Thursday when cold but clear weather settles in across the region.

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