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Readers Respond to a Defense of Portland’s Poor Snow Drivers

“No, normal people can’t drive in Portland snow because we are trying to get around the stupid Portlanders who put their chains on the back tires of HONDA FREAKING FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE ACCORDS!!!!”

Last week, WW published an op-ed on wweek.com titled "Hey, Midwestern Transplants: You Can't Drive in Portland Snow, Either." In the article, the author wrote that it's the city's small fleet of snow plows and road salters, steep topography and often icy conditions—not bad Portland drivers—responsible for shutting down Portland every time it snows. Here's what our readers had to say:

Cher Mikkola, via Facebook: "Minnesota born and raised, in Oregon for 45 years, and I live in a tiny backwater in the Cascade foothills. I go nowhere if it begins to snow here—NOWHERE! It's exactly as this article describes: either an ice rink sometimes camouflaged with snow or inches-thick frozen slush—all a nightmare."

Edward Drescher, via Facebook: "No, normal people can't drive in Portland snow because we are trying to get around the stupid Portlanders who put their chains on the back tires of HONDA FREAKING FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE ACCORDS!!!!"

Ben, via wweek.com: "The author seems to not realize that other parts of the nation also get a mix of ice and snow. It's true that it's physics. Minimize acceleration and you'll be fine (look up the term acceleration when it comes to velocity and direction if you need help). But there are skills in dealing with ice and snow that those living in colder climates than Portland acquire. Four-wheel drive has little to do with it. Experience and skill do."

Mary Rzany, via Facebook: "I'm from Chicago originally, and this is my first Portland snowstorm. I was shocked people were panic buying at the grocery store on Wednesday. But I totally get it. Ice sucks. And I will no longer scoff at it here."

Sharon Teel Wynde via Facebook: "Growing up in Colorado, I thought, 'I can drive in anything.' Then I experienced my first freezing rain in the early '90s here. No, not drivable."

Russ Gorsline, via email: "I do have to say I expect a higher degree of journalism from WW than what I found in 'Hey, Midwestern Transplants: You Can't Drive in Portland Snow, Either.' 'On a fucking ice rink' seems much more like what I would expect from the comments section, not from a professional writer for a mass publication newspaper."

@MirandizeMe, via Twitter: "This article is condescending crap, maybe some facts would help: Rain, sleet and snow often mix in wintry conditions, literally everywhere it snows, even on nonflat terrain. SAND on roads creates friction for safe driving/walking in winter and is environmentally safe. Do better."

@marziah, via Twitter: "Moved here from the Midwest and most definitely do not even try to drive in Portland snow. We had flat landscapes, wide roads without cars double-parked everywhere, and more snow-removal infrastructure. And, yes, even we stayed home when there was a layer of ice. Sheesh."

Bruce Murray, via email: "I grew up in the Motor City and moved to Oregon 49 years ago. I laughed at Willamette Valley drivers who I judged to be too cowardly to drive on a mere inch or two of snow. Fine, we Midwest drivers can now own the road…I then realized, duh, it wasn't just the snow or lack of salt and sand. The entire road structure of Western Oregon is not built with snow and ice in mind. Admonished, I took another step toward becoming a real Duck, and no longer drive in the snow. Quack, Midwesterners! Lose that I'm-better-than-you attitude and stay off the snowy streets."

Letters to the editor must include the author's street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.
Email: mzusman@wweek.com