"The snow kind of came out of nowhere and it really got icy. A motorhome started twirling around and people tried to avoid it and it didn't work out so well for a lot of people," said Shawn Dodd, who was involved in the pileup.
Oregon State University shut down all campus operations for the day because of the snowfall. School officials made the call at 6:30 a.m. Other colleges followed suit, with PCC, Portland State and University of Oregon all announcing early closures.
Most schools up and down the Willamette Valley announced early releases. That included Portland Public Schools, which is the largest school district in the state. Some schools have already started to announce closures for Friday.
Oregon Department of Transportation crews also have plans to use plows, sanders and deicers as appropriate. They gave the following tips for drivers who are considering traveling during an icy winter storm:
No one can safely drive on ice. If roads get icy, consider not driving or delaying your trip until the weather warms and the ice thaws.
In ice or snow, allow plenty of stopping distance and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists because stopping distances are so much longer.
ODOT sand trucks, plows and deicer trucks can't clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated.
Consider leaving the driving to the professionals and taking mass transit. Consider walking, riding a bike, working from home or taking the day off until the roads are clear.
Don't abandon a vehicle in heavy traffic. This delays emergency responders, prevents plows and other maintenance equipment from getting through.
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