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Just about once a quadrennial, winter weather completely takes over Portland. School is cancelled, parents skype into work, and the streets come to an absolute standstill. Some folks actually prefer to dub it as Snowlandia or Snowlaska after such a period of winter weather. On December 15th 2016, a major winter storm hit the metropolitan area, and complete chaos followed. For most Sunset students and staff, getting home was a struggle. Many school districts followed the weather advisories and released all students at noon to ensure everyone was home safely before the storm hit, but Beaverton was not one of them. Here are some of the best stories of Sunset students and staff in their journey to make it home in one piece.
Junior Abby Gilstrap leads for the most terrible school to home commute with about a 4 hour commute. Gilstrap was coming back from a math field trip downtown when it started snowing. However, when the class returned to Sunset, things became worse.
“I left school at 2:30 like normal and was scared to drive; still I thought I could make it. But about a quarter mile in I was sliding everywhere, so I pulled up to a random neighborhood off the side of the street. Then I called my mom who told me to call my dad, who didn’t pick up.“
The misfortune continued with a dead cell phone, prompting a trip to a local strangers house to ask to use their phone.
“Luckily they let me use their phone, but my dad was in a meeting and wouldn’t be able to pick me up for 30 min. I thought that was fine so I went back into my car, but I ended waiting for like 30-40 minutes and my car was getting really cold.”
Suddenly, Gilstrap’s luck began to change.
“One of the people from the house I went to came out to my car and asked me if I wanted to come in. So I went into their house and they offered me something to drink, let me charge my phone, and talked to me for a little bit. Then my dad called and said he had moved like a mile in 30 minutes so my neighbor was going to pick me up, so my neighbor picked me up like around 4:00 and we made it home around 6:30.”
It usually only takes Gilstrap 10-15 minutes on any typical commute, this was an extraordinary day. However, Gilstrap was’nt alone in discovering Portland does not have a typically mild reaction to snowfall. Yearbook and photography teacher Rozendaal was able to consolidate her afternoon into two sentences: “It took me 45 minutes to get from the exit of school to Murray. This was madness”.
Cristina Stone was (literally) about up to her ears in snow by the time she got home. At first, Stone was thinking about leaving school early to beat the snow home, but decided not to in order to finish a project.
“3 hours later I was still driving and I got stuck near Saltzman Road but someone helped me push my car out! Further along that same road I got stuck again and had to ditch my car and walk home the rest of the way.”
Stone reported she was not able to retrieve her car for 4 days. This storm was not messing around.
Snowmageddon 2016 was a complete success, that then carried over into 2017. There was a grand tally of our snowy year so far including: 9 no school days, 27 inches of powder, a couple dozen freeway accidents, and a few thousand happy children. While the midwest laughed at Portland, everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time spent with family and friends out in the winter weather once they got home. If, that is, they ever got home.