Editor's note: This is an earlier version of this updated article.
Snow and icy roads are snarling traffic for motorists and have caused several slide-offs and minor accidents on Highway 34, Highway 20 and Interstate 5 in Linn and Benton counties.
Corvallis police reported 16 minor collisions within the city limits this morning as of 10:30 a.m. Some were multiple-vehicle crashes, including one on Northwest Witham Hill Drive and 36th Street that involved seven vehicles, according to CPD Capt. Dave Henslee. Witham Hill Drive was closed at Circle Boulevard as of 11 a.m.
The mid-valley, Benton County in particular, has taken the brunt of the storm this morning.
“You guys are probably the hardest-hit of any part of Western Oregon,” Tyree Wilde, a meteorologist with the Portland office of the National Weather Service, said at 9 a.m. as snow continued to fall. “We’ve gotten reports of accumulations of 6 to 8 inches in Corvallis and Philomath.”
Peggy Goforth left dry road conditions at the start of her commute from Salem at 7:30 a.m. to Corvallis but the weather got dicey north of Albany.
“The worst part was Highway 20 from Albany to Corvallis,” she said. “The further I got out of Albany and closer to Corvallis, it kept getting worse and worse, and I was only going 20 mph.”
The roads were slick and the snowflakes big as she pulled into the Oregon State University campus.
“It was almost whiteout conditions,” she said, “and my wipers were freezing on me but I didn’t dare stop because I didn’t know if I could get traction to go again.”
Public schools in Linn and Benton Counties closed for the day, but Oregon State University didn’t close until noon.
“There’s about 10 or 12 people in our office and only about half of us are here,” Goforth said in the morning from her office in the University Administrative Business Center.
A short commute from 53rd Street and Philomath Boulevard to downtown Corvallis around 8 a.m. included a stuck Frito-Lay truck, a van being pushed up an incline to gain traction and a car abandoned in the snow on the westbound shoulder of Philomath Boulevard.
At 8:30 a.m., Benton County hadn't seen any major accidents, according to Capt. Greg Ridler of the Benton County Sheriff's Office.
“The roads are slick,” Ridler said, "but we haven’t had any major problems this morning.”
Many people are staying home today, but for those who must commute, Ridler has advice.
“We’re just advising people to drive safe, drive slow.”
Because of the inclement weather, the following schools are closed today:
Albany Christian School: Closed
Albany School District: All school closed.
Alsea School: Closed.
Central Linn Districts: All schools closed; field trips canceled; sports and night activities to be determined by 2 p.m.
Corvallis School District: All schools closed.
East Linn Christian Academy: Closed
Kidco Head Start: Corvallis, Crawfordsville, Harrisburg, Jefferson, Philomath, Riverside, South Albany and Sunnyside centers closed; Corvallis EHS Center closed. Perwinkle Center opens at 10 a.m.
Jefferson School District: All schools closed.
Lebanon School District: All schools closed
Monroe School Districts: All schools closed
Philomath School District: All Schools closed
Santiam Christian Schools: Closed
Scio School District: 2-hour delay
Sweet Home School District: No school Friday as normal
Lane Community College: Closed
Linn-Benton Community College: Closed
Oregon State University: Operating normally
Pacific University Eugene campus: Open
Pioneer Pacific College, Springfield: Open, but orientation for new students has been canceled.
University of Oregon: Closing after 2 p.m.
Central Electrical JATC: 2-hour delay
Lane ESD: Closed
Linn-Benton Lincoln ESD: closed.
Willamette Leadership Academy: closed
Albany Transit: No service on North Albany Road or Gibson Hill Road; Linn-Benton Loop Express Bus canceled; regular loop service still operating.
Interstate 5: The Oregon Department of Transportation has implemented chain requirements (Condition C) for most vehicles traveling I-5 through Linn County (mileposts 210 to 244). ODOT is also urging motorists to consider an alternate north/south route or to be ready to encounter congestion, crashes and delays. To learn more about Condition C and other conditional closures, visit TripCheck.com
Highway 126: ODOT: 9:37 a.m., An overturned semi continues to partially block Highway 126 (Florence-Eugene Hwy) approximately 4 miles east of Mapleton in Lane County (MP 18.5). Beginning shortly, the highway will be closed in both directions while the semi is removed from the highway. Once activated, the closure will last for as long as three hours. Motorists should plan an alternate route or delay travel to and from Florence until approximately noon.
ODOT advises motorists to consider delaying travel or be prepared to travel on snow and ice.
Motorists should seek alternate routes and or expect significant delays. OSP encourages all motorists to drive cautiously and plan ahead for winter weather driving conditions. For traffic updates contact www.tripcheck.com.