PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With sunshine in the forecast all week long, it might be tough to imagine that the Portland metro area was covered with snow and ice a year ago.
Dash Schenck, the district manager of the Portland office of The Davey Tree Company, remembers the historic storm because of the aftermath it left for his crews to clean up. The company received 300 emergency calls — shattering its previous record of 25 calls.
Looking back, Schenck said it was the ice following the snow that challenged them the most.
“First couple days, a lot of my guys were snowed in,” Schenck recalled.
Most of the calls were for tree removal as branches covered in ice snapped after freezing rain and below-freezing temperatures lingered in the area.
Schenck said his three crews could only respond days later once the roads had cleared.
“I was seeing like 16 to 20 people a day working until like 10 o’clock at night,” he said. “And there’s only so much you could do.”
The district manager visits the location requesting tree removal before actual crews can come in for the service.
Schenck said, “I was watching branches fall because the ice was so heavy. You could hear the cracking and then just see branches come down.”
Portland Parks & Recreation said last February’s weather event was the most impactful winter storm in decades. According to a spokesperson for the department, crews worked to resolve more than 600 tree emergencies in public streets city-wide.
“Some were trees or limbs, which blocked roadways and others were large, unstable limbs still attached to trees, or trees at risk of falling due to the ice,” PP&R’s Mark Ross said.
Moving forward, funds approved by Portland voters from the 2020 parks levy — among other benefits — will allow the department to enhance and preserve parks, plant new trees and perform proactive maintenance, according to Ross.
At the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, a spokesperson told KOIN 6 News that more than 20 trees were impacted in the park system. It cost the district $31,000 to clean up the damage in about a three-week period.
THPRD plans to focus on preparation in case of another major snow and ice storm hitting the area.
As for Schenck, he hopes a storm like that never happens again.
“It seems that it’s a once in every 20 years type of storm,” he said. “I guess what we learned is that everything will get done eventually. If that happened again, I would be able to handle the stress level differently — I would work just as hard of course — but it’s all going to get done eventually.”