Well, hello to you, and goodbye to February! It’s Thursday, the 28th and last day of what’s been a weirdly interminable month, with a nonstop threat of ice and snow, and we’re not out of the snowy woods yet. March will come in the way February is going out: in the thrall of an unseasonably cold weather pattern that will linger like a winter candle for the next week–with snow possibly mixing down to the lowest levels this morning. And yet again tomorrow, the first of March….and check it out: Spring begins two weeks and six days from today. The planet is easing into position for the Equinox: sunrise 6:51 AM, sunset 5:56 PM.
Something we’ve learned from the style of the current weather regime is that things happen suddenly, and with sharp geographic demarcations. At this time yesterday, I was typing blithely that things looked OK…when, in fact, the very highway I drive on to work was about to turn into a knuckle-whitening challenge even for the most experienced 18-wheelers on the road. Ultimately schools across the metro area were shutting down. But at the same time, our neighbors on the sales-tax side of the Columbia were virtually untouched. So today, I make no promises or predictions. Stuff might rotate in and change everything. The official Portland forecast thusly:
“”Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow showers in the morning,
then a chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon. Local snow accumulation up to 1 inch. Highs around 40.”
The early school announcement roster, which was practically empty when we started yesterday and ended in a frenzy of closures, is similarly underpopulated right now. In fact we have no announcements in the metro area or the valley so far, a fact that’s sure to change.
You know that delightful surprise when the lights come back on from an outage? Thousands of people are desperate for that experience, as the lights-out situation is a downright crisis in towns like Lane County’s Oakridge, which hasn’t had power since the weekend. Highway 58 is a wilderness of deep snow; BPA transmission towers are lying on their side amid crashed trees..and let me check Pacific Power’s Oregon outage list–OK. They have about 12,000 customers out, a real improvement from 30,000 at the storm’s height. But some places in the Winston-Yoncalla-Southerlin-Drain-Roseburg area may not be restored until Saturday, and warming centers are set up in churches and gyms. Winds in the Portland area have backed off considerably and PGE has no outages at all. I know of one grateful homeowner who rewarded a line crew with some oven-fresh chocolate chip cookies. All those folks deserve cookies, double OT, and our appreciation!
US 101 remains blocked by a landslide in a scenic but notoriously unstable stretch between Gold Beach and Brookings. It’s the largest slide there in over a decade, and crews can’t even begin to work on it until it stops moving. There’s a detour over a winding road in the neighboring mountains.
Flags in Oregon are flying low in honor of Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who succumbed to cancer at 69. He was the first Republican elected to statewide office in Oregon in sixteen years, and though he was involved in many political fights during his career, he vowed to take a nonpartisan approach to this office, and seems to have kept that promise, refuting President Trump’s claims of voter fraud, rejecting a demand by Trump’s voter fraud commission for information about Oregon voters, and proposing that a nonpartisan commission draw the boundaries for legislative districts, rather than the usual political gerrymandering. Governor Brown will appoint a replacement.
The nuclear summit in Hanoi between President Trump and North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un ended in no joint agreement after Kim insisted all US sanctions be lifted on his country. “Sometimes you have to walk”: President Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un. Said Trump, “Sometimes you just have to walk.”
To believe…or not to believe…Michael Cohen’s damning testimony about Donald Trump? The answer falls exactly along party lines, of course, but thoughtful people should take the time to read the coverage and decide for themselves. What jumped at me was Cohen’s revelation of an ongoing investigation into unspecified and previously unreported issues by the Southern District of New York. Otherwise it was a day of blockbuster allegations, and the court of public opinion is where yesterday’s spectacle was aimed.
The Portland City Council has done a big back-off on the requirement that unreinforced masonry buildings carry warning signs about earthquake danger. The requirement now applies to city-owned buildings only; for private structures, it’s delayed until the end of 2020. It’s another win for new Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who made the point that the requirement would force the owners of older buildings to dump them at fire-sale prices–a recipe for demolition and gentrification. Nevertheless, the council reversal doesn’t change the fact that, as the controversial signs say, Unreinforced Masony Buildings May Be Unsafe In The Event Of A Major Earthquake.
The Portland Trail Blazers bopped the Boston Celtics 97-92 for their 5th win in a row, the 4th on the road. They’re in Toronto tomorrow, minus backup center, Enes Kanter, who won’t make that trip because of immigration issues.
Bill Walton was injured on this day in 1978, leading ultimately to his departure from the Portland Trail Blazers and the end to a potential dynasty before it even began.
Patti LaBelle is at Ilani Resort tonight at 8. “Lady Marmalade” is her biggest hit, of course, with the famous invitation, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” Interestingly, that wasn’t the first time this phrase came up in literature or entertainment. It appears twice in a poem by e.e. cummings (followed by “Non? pourquoi?”). And it even pops up in Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
New parents will be un-shocked by a new study that says the impact of a baby on the parents’ sleep….will likely last up to six years. One day at a time, friends, and call the grandfolks if you need a break!
Some headlines to happy up this late winter day!
–“NFL Star, former Oregon State Beaver, Finds Out Fan Is Facing Eviction & Sends Him Most Surprising Offer.”
–“One-armed Little Leaguer blasts inside-the-park home run”
–“Soldier Gives Up Home To Help Family In Need”
–“He’s Vietnamese. She’s From North Korea. They Had To Wait 3 Decades To Marry. Married finally.”
–“See a Dazzling, Exuberant Renaissance Calligraphy Guide”