PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — TriMet buses and school buses were stuck around the metro Wednesday night with some parents waiting for hours just to find out where their children were. It has parents questioning Portland Public Schools’s decision to keep the school open through the day.
Several parents reported their children were not able to get home until after 10 p.m. last night.
“Nervous the whole time that they would get stuck somewhere, you know, they’d be on the road behind an accident and just be tracked for hours,” said Trish Murley, a mother of a sixth grade student. “I was concerned about how hungry I knew he was, he started texting me for saying he was hungry these days, you know, I was concerned about just everything else going on.”
TriMet’s buses are stuck throughout the city and it may take until the snow melts or ice thaws before they can get some of them.
KOIN 6 News was told by parents that around 1:45 p.m, after the snow had been falling for several hours, PPS sent a note to parents saying the school will end normally, activities are canceled, buses are on snow routes and families are encouraged to pick up their kids as early as possible.
Some parents either couldn’t or were confused wondering if the bus was coming or did they need to pick their child up.
“I didn’t know that meant before the end of the school day. I really thought I would be disrupting school by going to get him.” Trish Murley said.
By the time Murley’s son attends West Sylvan Middle School, which lets out at at 3:45. By that time, the city was all gridlocked, so she had to wait six hours for her son to get home.
“If I had gone to get him, there’s a good chance I would have been one of the people stuck on [Highway] 26 all night.” she said.
Murley said she was so thankful to the school staff who stayed at the school with her and 16 other kids and to the bus driver, Kirby, who made several trips back and forth to the school.
Another parent, Joesph Brewer, whose son didn’t make it home until after 10 p.m. Wednesday night shared that he wished PPS’ communication could’ve been much better
“I think they did a very bad job about it,” said Brewer. “That’s something they should’ve decided earlier in the day rather than you know an hour before.”
KOIN 6 asked PPS about their decision to keep schools open so late, they did not answer that question but provided this statement:
PPS extends our sincere gratitude to the educators, school leaders, staff, community partners, and families across our system who ensured all of our students arrived home safely last night. We are continuing to assess road conditions to determine when our schools will be able to safely reopen. The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our primary concern, and we won’t waiver in that commitment.
Murley was hoping for just more clear communication from the school to come earlier in the day so she and her family could’ve had made plans, rather than reacting to the storm. She is thankful for the West Sylvan staff that stayed with her child, provided snacks, and the bus driver who made several trips back and forth for kids.
“Honestly, the mood he came home in tells me he was taken great care of all night.” Murley said.