“The last comparable storm was about 50 years ago,” Cory Crebbin, director of Medford Public Works says.
While residents dig out, public works is digging in, to hundreds of miles of city street covered in snow.
“Medford has 500 lane miles of street so we will never get to all of them before the snow is melted,” Crebbin says, “and so we just focus on the main routes.”
That means you’ll see crews focusing on roads leading to hospitals as well as fire departments. What you won’t see is plows. The city doesn’t use them, because the snow banks they create block people’s driveways and cover the sidewalks pushing the city’s many pedestrians in to the street.
“So we use front loaders,” Crebbin says, “because we can push the snow a long way away from driveways or we use graters because they make a much smaller berm”.
“They aren’t as fast and efficient as snowplows,” he adds, “but they work better in a city environment.”
They also rely on partnerships with ODOT and Jackson County Roads to help where needed. But if you thought the conditions were going to get better now that the snow has stopped, think again.
“Probably right now the streets are in as good a condition as you’re going to see in the next couple of days,” Crebbin says, “all of this is gonna freeze, and snow you can get a little bit of traction, ice there is very little traction so I would anticipate that the roads are actually going to get worse tonight.”
Crebbin recommends chaining up before you even leave the garage or driveway. Not only is it drier and more comfortable, but it’s safer than chaining up on the side of the road after you’ve already run into a problem.