It has been a very interesting 18 or so hours in Portland. Starting about 8pm yesterday the large wet snowflakes started coming down. As a native Oregonian, I realize how rare snow fall is at the floor of the Willamette Valley, where Portland sits. So, when when the snow starts to fall I, like a lot of Portlanders, feel a rush of childhood enthusiasm. Even though it's March, it suddenly feels like the holidays all over again!
However, the snow quickly becomes a love/hate relationship. Due to the fact that snow is often not predicted, people are largely unprepared. This is most evident with the chaos that ensues on the roadways. It is unbelievable to me how traffic can become gridlocked almost instantaneously. If people would just slow down slightly, leave a little space, and not panic, it's not hard to drive in the snow. However a large scale panic seems to set in and people start making rediculous decisions. I see the over confident barreling around and sliding their rear wheel drive cars all over the place. On the other side of the spectrum I see the people in all wheel drive cars pulling over in the middle of the road to put their chains on. When there is less than an inch of snow accumulating, you don't need chains when you are driving in the city with all wheel drive. Just use a little common sense!
For me personally, I did enjoy the youthful exuberance that I saw out on the streets though. I was walking around and could feel the energy coming from all of the other people on the streets. It was great to see the kids out frolicking around and throwing snow at each other. I saw people that probably would have stayed in for the night walking to see movies. On a side note, the movie theater was packed last night and I doubt it would have been if not for the snow. For some reason snow just brings people out of the house.
Overall I wish it would snow here a little more often. I love the community feel as people seem to leave their homes and hit the streets. I also love the buzz it brings to the city. However, if you are not comfortable driving or are not prepared, don't get in your car! When the snow comes enjoy it, but use common sense, and be safe!