Linn County Road Department snow plows were out clearing roads early Tuesday morning as the mid-valley experienced the second day in a row with measurable snowfall.
“Crews were out between 3 and 4 a.m., depending on the area,” Linn Roadmaster Darrin Lane said. “The Scio area always seems to get quite a bit of snow.”
Lane said the lower areas of the county received about 2 inches of sticking snow. Unlike Monday, when the level was confined to higher elevations, even the valley floor was covered in white Tuesday.
Lane said several vehicles slid into stop signs and guard rails throughout the county, even though a break in the weather on Monday allowed his staff to apply sand and de-icer at key problem areas.
“I think the de-icer helped quite a bit,” he said. “We have plenty of sand, and last year we set up a de-icer storage in Lebanon. We have about 15,000 gallons on hand.”
Tangent Rural Fire District assisted at a four-car accident about 7:30 a.m. on Highway 34 about one mile east of the Interstate interchange. Ice is believed to have been a factor in the accident that, which closed both westbound lanes of traffic. Oregon State Police also responded.
One woman, believed to be in her early 30s, was extricated from her vehicle using light rescue tools. She was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. There were no other injuries.
Jefferson Fire District staffers were busy with numerous calls about 7 to 8 a.m. along Interstate 5, according to spokeswoman Tammy Robbins.
“Most of the calls were for fender-benders. There were probably about six of those calls,” she said. “But there was a wreck about 7:37 at the 241 southbound exit.”
Robbins said the driver of a Toyota Tacoma crewcab pickup lost control and spun around, then struck the side of a semitruck that was parked on the interstate's shoulder. The Tacoma's driver was extricated and transported to Samaritan Albany General Hospital.
While Tuesday’s snowfall closed schools in Philomath and Alsea and delayed the start of classes in Corvallis, there were no serious problems with Benton County roads, and local public works officials said they would have crews standing by to address icy conditions that might arise later in the week.
Benton County road manager Jim Stouder said he had three trucks equipped with plow blades and sanding gear checking for trouble spots on Tuesday morning, but his crew found no serious issues on county roads.
“They melted off really fast. The temperature didn’t get quite as low as it was predicted to get,” he said. “They’re wet, but we’re not finding any ice.”
Stouder said he was more concerned about what Wednesday morning might bring after overnight lows predicted to drop into the mid-20s.
“If it doesn’t dry out too much, in the morning we could be fighting a lot of ice,” he said. “We’ll have three sanders out (Wednesday) morning.”
His counterpart with the Corvallis Public Works Department, Chad Gordon, reported similarly smooth sailing within the city limits.
“We didn’t have any issues,” Gordon said, adding that he had employees on overnight and into the early morning hours in case any problems arose.
Gordon said he wasn’t expecting icy streets in Corvallis on Wednesday, although he did plan to have the city’s seven sander/snowplow rigs ready to go just in case. And he said he’d be keeping an eye on the forecast for later in the week, which calls for possible snow starting Thursday and continuing through the weekend.
“So far so good, knock on wood,” Gordon said. “But we’ll keep up the battle the rest of the week. We’ll be prepared.”
Schools in both the Sweet Home and Lebanon school districts were closed Tuesday, providing children of all ages an opportunity to go sledding and make snow angels.
Kaitlyn Kennedy was out playing in the snow before the sun came up.
Her mother, Jennifer Kennedy, took videos of her daughter making snow angels. She was watching her her — and about a half-dozen other children — sled down the hillside at the Elks Lodge from her warm car.
According to the Sweet Home Public Works Department, city streets and roads were sanded Monday night in anticipation of snow. The move may have contributed to the good conditions on Highway 20, which allowed Linn Shuttle to run normal routes Tuesday.
“It comes down to one question: What is Highway 20 like?” said Ken Bronson, who runs the Linn Shuttle. “If Highway 20 is open, we run.”
All seven routes and five express routes ran on the normal schedule Tuesday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, snow is expected in the area through Tuesday night before sunny weather returns Wednesday, giving way to a 20 percent chance of snow again on Thursday.
Sweet Home Fire Chief David Barringer said the snow didn’t cause any major problems for his department.
“No, I’m out walking right now and the streets are fine,” Barringer said. “We didn’t have any calls for service this morning due to the weather.”
In Lebanon, the COMP-Northwest medical school campus started off with a two-hour delay and then closed down for the day.
The city opened its warming shelter at 170 East Grant St., Wednesday evening, as temperatures were expected to drop into the 20s. The shelter will be open on a day-by-day basis based on decisions made by Police Chief Frank Stevenson.
For information, call 541-258-4339.