Editorial: People respond to storm's challenge

Jan 21, 2012

The storm was like few others, and it is not quite behind us.

People who have worked in public service for years can't remember a worse ice storm, or at least one that hit so violently and so intensely.

More bad weather was expected Friday, and virtually every event scheduled Friday and Saturday in the Gorge has been canceled.

On the police scanner you heard words like "De-icer is not working; it's too cold. We need gravel!"

This mildly heated call came just before 11 a.m. from somewhere on I-84, which was chains only by Friday afternoon.

So much has happened in the past 72 hours, with minor and major accidents and incidents involving traffic, power lines and more, that it will take awhile before it is possible to accurately tally it all - certainly not until the weather spends 24 hours or more above freezing and a good night's sleep has been had by all the hardworking folks with police and fire, utilities, public works and dispatch.

Street repairs, overtime budgets and inventories of supplies and equipment will be just one part of what looks like a massive post-storm equation.

Then there's the damage to trees, on public and private lands.

The main concern throughout has been public safety as power line after power line gets caught up in fallen trees or knocked to the ground.

"The roads are in good shape, but the problem is the (downed) lines and where can you get the ice plowed without endangering the driver," David Meriwether, county administrator said Friday.

Sometimes one problem cancels out fixing another.

Patience is in order, and that's something likely to be tested again. After all it is still mid-January and there is plenty of winter left.

And, of course, there is always the possibility that with all this frozen matter on the trees and on the ground, further tree damage, erosion and flooding will happen in the Gorge.

Getting through it all will require teamwork and neighborliness, which is something repeatedly cited in coverage in this edition of the News. Consider that a bright spot in these challenging days.

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