PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After a devastating snowstorm, there are a lot of questions about the City of Portland’s response.

The city only has 36 plows that are supposed to start by clearing 1,700 miles of snow and ice routes. But the city commissioner in charge of the Portland Bureau of Transportation says that wasn’t the problem Wednesday night.

Commissioner Mingus Mapps says the amount of snow that came to Portland was a “surprise” and heavier than they had expected. Thousands of drivers tried to leave mid-afternoon once the storm hit, clogging up the roads and causing vehicles to spin out and accidents. This made it difficult for plows to get through on the main streets.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation says they had to bring in more people once the storm started.

“When we see bad weather coming in, we need to anticipate that and urge people to either work at home or leave earlier than they did,” Mapps said. “I think we also need to do a better job of talking to other large employers and send out the message that it’s time to get your folks home and off the roads.”

PBOT says it is not issuing tickets for vehicles overstaying at parking meters until noon on Saturday. There also won’t be tickets for cars towed for blocking traffic, but vehicle owners will have to pay the towing fees as the city works to get them out of the travel lanes.

Gov. Tina Kotek released a statement on Twitter, saying in part that “thousands of Oregonians were impacted by the storm (Wednesday). I have heard horrible stories about people getting stuck in traffic and having to stay in their cars or abandon their cars. I also heard about childcare challenges and all kinds of things, not to mention the risk of people who are living outside. I’ve also heard that people have stepped up to help out, bringing food, digging people out. Thank you for whatever you’re doing. Whether you’re volunteering or getting paid to help out, thank you for helping out our neighbors.”

Kotek also encouraged Portlanders not to travel on Thursday.

“If you do not need to travel (Thursday), please do not travel. Your safety is our number one priority. Some people do need to travel, so if you don’t please stay home. With cold temps, ice and high winds expected across the state, additional resources and shelter are available. You can call 211 to find out about warming shelters or transportation options. Please be safe and take care,” she said.