Special Report: It still might snow
The possibly big potential snowstorm tentatively forecast for tomorrow night has local governments posturing around in the media and on the intertubes, assuring the public that yes, they are reaching their very highest stages of readiness.
At Portland City Hall, the city's army of 27 bloggers and Tweeters are standing by with up-to-the-minute reports. Sample Tweet: "Fireman Randy says to let your faucet run a little." The water commissioner has also requested that Portlanders make regular use of his patented street toilets to keep the seats in those facilities from getting too cold. "Being frozen to the bowl in a public loo robs people of their dignity," he declared at a Friday afternoon press conference. "Let's thaw the sticky circle of homelessness."
Mayor Creepy advises turning down the thermostat and cuddling up with an inexperienced sustainability staffer. The mayor also notes that the two guys who drive the city's snow plow have now located the keys to the truck and are standing by for further instructions. "Your street probably won't be plowed," the mayor said, "but if it is and you get a bill for the service, you may sign an affidavit that you would have shoveled it yourself but didn't have time to prepare. If your application is approved after our review, the fee will be waived -- for this storm only."
Commissioner Nick Fish announced this morning that once freezing temperatures set in, the city will partially refill the bottom of the dredged-out Laurelhurst Park duck pond with water diverted from nearby bioswales, and the parks bureau will open the city's long-delayed public skating rink there. Former Portland Business Alliance head Kim Kimbrough will be on hand from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday to autograph exclusion notices. Parks bureau employees are also hoping that enough precipitation will accumulate to allow construction of a festive snowman, PCB Pedro, to complement nearby Cesar Chavez Boulevard.
Tri-Met is gearing up to put chains on the area's buses as a safety measure at the first sign of a snowflake. All buses will be on special "snow routes," which means Fifth and Sixth Avenues between NW Glisan and SW Jefferson Streets. And in keeping with seasonal tradition, dozens of buses will be idling 16 hours a day in front of the U.S. Bank Tower beginning Monday morning at 4:46 a.m. (time approximate).
The transit agency also asks that residents on the west side phone a special tip line (503-238-BUST) if they see anyone riding the WES train. Of course, the MAX lines will shut down entirely if the temperature drops to 31 degrees or below.
Winter weather makes travel to Mount Hood more challenging. Residents of Welches are particularly hard hit by snowstorms and usually need $40 for cab fare home from Sandy.
Perhaps the biggest threat posed by the weather is to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Because of the impending snowstorm, grocers are reportedly running out of turkeys. If you don't already have yours, you're advised to get it right away, at all costs. Portland's streetcars are free this month to anyone carrying a fresh, free-range turkey, dead or alive, in a reusable bag.
In sum, the city is in a state of extreme preparedness. Stay tuned to bojack.org Storm Center 9000.2 for all the latest on the Blizzard of '10. We look out the window -- so that you don't have to.