More Snow Follies from Portland

“Life’s tough, and it’s a whole lot tougher if you’re stupid.”

This favorite line from the movie “Sands of Iwo Jima” is acted out every time it snows in Portland.

Legions of vacuous Subaru drivers equating “all wheel drive” with “all terrain vehicle” slide down the same streets they slid down last time it snowed, caroming off parked cars. Cars unsafe even on dry pavement litter the city, abandoned in the middle of the street or jutting from the curb at some precarious angle. Tomorrow their owners will violently curse the impound lot attendant over the “injustice” of having to pay for the necessary removal of their hazardously placed vehicles.

Semi truck drivers find out that “jackknife” is not just the name of a film starring Robert De Niro or a professional wrestling hold. Meanwhile, thousands of drivers with the sense and foresight to chain up or put on snow tires and drive cautiously, leaving lots of space between their car and others, will be inconvenienced and endangered by these thoughtless morons.

I’m not sure at what point large numbers of Portland’s population became so dense that they needed to be told to use traction devices or tires when it snowed, or that you couldn’t drive on ice and snow the same way you drive on dry pavement. I’m betting it was about the time they started electing people who thought that bike lanes and light rail would eliminate traffic jams. There’s certainly some sort of intellectual parity at work there.

If you needed demonstrations of bureaucratic incompetence you couldn’t do better than the Portland and Beaverton school districts, the former not announcing school closures until 7:30 AM — after students were already on busses and working parents on their way to work — and the latter not until 8:30 AM — after students were already at school and working parents already at work. Not to be outdone, Mayor Potter and Commissioner Adams held a news conference at 12:30 PM to tell us that there was snow, that it was causing traffic problems, and that we shouldn’t drive if we could avoid it. Oh really? About 2 PM they finally issued a statement requiring traction devices or tires to be used on all Portland streets, only to reverse themselves shortly before 3 PM (right before all the city employees went home). If Portland ever faces a real emergency with these folks running the show we’re totally screwed.