Portland woke up on Tuesday to everything covered in white, and promptly fell apart. TriMet made the amazing decision early in the morning to not chain up the buses, and by 8 a.m. nobody could accuse them of overreacting to inclement weather. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Oregon Considered,” Portland Public School District, along with most of the surrounding districts, announced first that they were going to remain open, and then decided to close.
Portland woke up on Tuesday to everything covered in white, and promptly fell apart. TriMet made the amazing decision early in the morning to not chain up the buses, and by 8 a.m. nobody could accuse them of overreacting to inclement weather. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Oregon Considered,” Portland Public School District, along with most of the surrounding districts, announced first that they were going to remain open, and then decided to close. One of the main problems with how the schools went about this decision was actually waiting until many children were already at school, and then basically telling them to go home for the day.
Our fair city has a history of overreacting to severe weather, or rather, acting like the weather is severe when it is far from it-so it isn’t hard to see why some of these organizations made these errors in judgment. One of the easiest actions to take in situations like this is to assign blame when there may not really be a goat to be scaped. I overheard a woman yelling at the streetcar driver that he needed to get out and clear the rails, and asking him, “How the hell could you let this happen?” Look, lady, what the hell would you have done in his place, gotten out and used a hairdryer on the tracks? Sometimes there’s just nothing anyone can do to make it all better.
As far as placing blame on anyone for what happened because of the weather, some people simply need to sit back and look at what they can do, or have already done. The most common sight during the morning commute, aside from all of the figure skating buses, were large cars with small women using four-wheel drive to basically go in no direction all at once. Of course, after careening madly down a hill while their car was still in park and running into another supposedly parked car, many people chose to angrily ask any other drivers involved where the hell they learned to drive.
Even children playing in the snow had their share of accidents. Most news outlets were reporting on Tuesday afternoon that in Vancouver, a young boy was hospitalized after the sled he was on ran under an oncoming minivan, nearly crushing him beneath the wheels. So far, this particular accident had been a shining example of how to react in these situations. The parents of the child haven’t blamed the driver, and have so far not threatened to sue the city of Vancouver for not having the roads cleared, supposedly because they realize it is not something for which you can place blame. It’s worth commending the parents for handling this like mature adults should.
It wasn’t all bad driving and poor choices by those in charge. Many people helped stranded motorists move their cars, and as many passengers got off the bus to try and help out as opposed to staying seated behind the steamy windows scowling. The only way for our city to make it through any disaster, no matter how minor people from the Midwest and East Coast may think it is, is to learn from its mistakes and try to not make them again.
We are going to have bad weather again-maybe in the near future and maybe not for a long time-and there will always be lapses of judgment and bad behavior as a result. There will be insurance exchanged and chains snapped. There will be school days canceled and babies delivered in snow-bound ambulances on their way to the hospital. There will be yet another winter morning where the only law in effect is Murphy’s. All of this and more will happen again and again in our lifetimes, and we need to help each other through it, and remember that it’s nobody’s fault when everything goes wrong and everybody’s responsibility to make it right.