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School snow day makes streets safer

Photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA

PENDLETON, Oregon – The first significant snowfall of the season went relatively smoothly for Pendleton police. Chief Stuart Roberts said that only two crashes were reported from Monday night through late Tuesday morning.

“It looks like we also had nine disabled vehicles,” he said. “Typically, they are characterized as such when they spin out and/or end up somewhere that they shouldn’t be.”

The decision to cancel classes in the Pendleton School District helped police.

“Roadways aren’t quite as congested,” Roberts said. “Intersections don’t get quite as much use, so they don’t get as slicked up as they eventually will become.”

As snow piled up Monday night, school and bus company officials in Pendleton experienced weather conditions firsthand, to determine what would happen with classes on Tuesday.

“Matt Yoshioka, myself, and the manager at Mid-Co (Mid-Columbia Bus) hit the roads and the streets to see what the feel is for driving conditions,” Superintendent Chris Fritsch said. “Mid-Co will have a couple of drivers drive some of the routes as well.”

Pendleton made one announcement, that schools will be closed. Meanwhile, other districts that had opted for late starts ended up changing that status as conditions worsened. Fritsch said that, although weather conditions can change quickly, it is the district’s goal to make one announcement only.

“We know that our families and our staff, once we make a call, they’re making alternative plans,” he said. “It’s difficult, a couple of hours in to change those up on them.”

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