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Becoming Part of Portland
By Fay Funk
I knew I was a Portlander again about two months ago when I felt a deep sense of panic upon hearing the weather forecast. It might snow. I tried to figure out how I was going to get to work. My panic deepened. When the temperature dropped below freezing and frost appeared on the ground I drove like an old lady to work and arrived half an hour late, along with everyone else in my office. All this for a little frost that was gone before noon.
Starting on Thursday this past week it actually did snow in Portland and the city really did shut down. We got about ten inches of snow over three days, and then a few inches of ice on Sunday. I wore every sweater I owned to go outside. It was unclear if even Safeway could remain open under these conditions.
The snowstorm that hit Portland was nothing in comparison to the one that hit the East Coast and Midwest a few months ago. The temperature never dropped into the negative numbers and the snow accumulation was under a foot. It was a minor storm by most standards, but in Portland any snow is an emergency situation. Here I was, panicking with everyone else.
I got used to snow in New York City. Every year snow fell over New York, and every year things continued as normal, except for one year. That was the Snowpocalypse. School did not get canceled. The subways kept running and the cars kept driving. Within hours, the snow on the sidewalks and roads would be cleared away by the city. The snow formed into twelve-foot tall walls. It was dirty snow that never fully melted until April. The snow was not a thing of beauty or a cause for panic. It was simply another uncomfortable part of living in the city.
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