A late decision to close the Portland State campus because of the unexpected heavy snowfall caused some classes to meet, and left many students, faculty and staff members uncertain until mid-morning about whether the university would be closed yesterday. Vice President of Finance and Administration Lindsay Desrochers announced the decision to close campus, made with Chief of PSU Public Safety Mike Soto, at 8:30 a.
A late decision to close the Portland State campus because of the unexpected heavy snowfall caused some classes to meet, and left many students, faculty and staff members uncertain until mid-morning about whether the university would be closed yesterday.
Vice President of Finance and Administration Lindsay Desrochers announced the decision to close campus, made with Chief of PSU Public Safety Mike Soto, at 8:30 a.m. yesterday, a time much later than is common, Desrochers said. She said that she would typically get a phone call at around 4:30 a.m. about a storm that could cause school closure, but she did not receive a call until 6 a.m. because of the unexpected nature of the storm.
“We wanted to make [the closure announcement] earlier if we could,” Desrochers said, “but we didn’t have enough information about the snow storm.”
Desrochers said yesterday that because weather reports were showing freezing temperatures for most of last night and there was a possibility of more snow, PSU might be closed again today. She said PSU will decide this morning if the school will open.
PSU initially delayed all activity until 10 a.m. yesterday, but after snowfall rapidly increased between 7 and 8 a.m., the university administrators decided to close the campus. Desrochers said she hopes to have a quicker decision about the closure of the school.
Most students enjoyed the day off school by having snowball fights or staying warm inside, but a few classes met when people made it to PSU before the heavy snow began falling. Kayla Morinaga and Jill Tichnor found out school was closed for the day after they got out of class at 9 a.m.
“We should’ve known sooner,” Tichnor said. “I wouldn’t have gone to class,” said Morinaga.
Over 70 buses stalled in the storm that weather watchers predicted would just be a small snow flurry, but turned into close to two inches of snowfall. TriMet equipped the buses with tire chains, however, and they were running along with MAX lines and the Portland Streetcar for most of the day.
Desrochers said that the unexpected ferocity of the storm was the main reason the PSU closure announcement was delayed. She said that Soto called her at 6 a.m. and said he had seen only minimal amounts of snow, causing them to delay the closure announcement.
The administrators then watched to see what Portland Public Schools were doing. When the schools announced that they would be closing, and TriMet buses began stalling on roads, the university administrators decided to announce the PSU closure.
The food court in Smith Memorial Student Union opened for part of the day, but closed at 3 p.m. Some library workers made it to PSU before the snow hit, and the library remained open until 1 p.m.
Desrochers said administrators should decide whether or not PSU will be open by 6 a.m. Wednesday. Students should check the PSU website, www.pdx.edu, and local news affiliates for more information.