REDMOND, OR - Central Oregon crews were out Wednesday trying to clear slush from main roads. Bend's Public Works had all 18 pieces of available equipment out targeting problem areas. Redmond had five graders out. State road crews also continue efforts to clear highways. Last week, dump trucks removed 7,000 yards of highly compacted snow and ice from Greenwood and Third St. in Bend to a vacant lot near the Highway 20/97 interchange. That’s enough to cover a high school football field four-feet deep. ODOT officials say if it was fluffed back to its original state, it would likely be 3-4 times as high.
It’ll be several months before the complete financial impact of this winter’s extreme weather is known, but preliminary numbers are starting to come in. Redmond Mayor George Endicott tells KBND News it's difficult to tell just how much the city will end up spending on snow removal. "We’ve had somewhere between 45" and 50" in the last month and that’s just so hard to contend with. You know, your budgets go out of control; we spent $150,000 in the city; I know they’ve spent about $125,000 with all kinds of overtime and contractors. It throws the whole system out of kilter, which these things happen. It’s Mother Nature and you can’t control it."
Prineville's Street Superintendent said last week he's already exhausted this year's overtime budget.
Airport Director Zach Bass says, "It’s a constant focus on a 7,000 sf x 150 sf runway. We go in ‘12s’ – we have six individuals out there at all times. What some people don’t realize, apart from the airfield, is that our custodians actually are the ones doing all the sidewalks and all the parking lots. They really step up. We had about nine days straight where it was 12 hours for everybody on-board." Bass says through the series of storms, Roberts Field shut down for a total of 14 hours; although, some airlines canceled additional flights due to weather or other issues in other cities.
Mayor Endicott says this year's snow rivals the winter of 1992-93, "Before that, supposedly the year I was born – 1948 – was a really bad year; a very cold year, that year. The last huge one that really and truly was catastrophic was 1919. So, you’re looking at 100 years ago. Not that this was a hundred-year storm, but it certainly ranks up there in the top few." And, winter isn’t over yet.