Snow forces students to choose wait or walk

Snow leaves students stranded at school, stuck on buses or forced to walk in freezing temperatures


Philip Chan

The snow-covered Sunset Ave., where Bus 55 stopped.

Students were greeted by falling flakes of snow as school ended Wednesday afternoon, but the winter wonderland turned quickly turned into a nightmare.

I got on Bus 55 to find it packed students, crowded with three to a seat in some rows. We slowly inched along West A St., and the cautious climb up Sunset Ave. was nerve-wracking. Every time the bus swayed or slipped, even if it was hardly an inch, students screamed. But at least we were moving and not stuck like several cars that I saw leaving the student parking lots.

Eventually, on the bridge over I-205, the driver stopped and informed us of his decision to put on chains. At first, it seemed like students were joking when they claimed they were going to walk home. Minutes later, the crowded bus’s population was reduced to fewer than ten students, many compelled by the bus driver’s claim that they would still need to wait “a couple hours.” I know that several of those students who walked up Sunset Ave. usually get off near Parker Rd., which is almost a 30 minute trek in 30 degree snow. More than an hour had passed since school was dismissed at 3:10, and students were either walking or waiting.

I was lucky, in that the parents of my friend drove by and saw me before pulling over and offering to give me a ride. They also offered rides to four other students. However, many students were not this lucky.
For Haydn Maust, freshman, the bus didn’t come at 3:10.

“Every time I see headlights I have hope,” Maust said, “And then it’s another car.”

Maust waited 90 minutes before a bus finally came. He arrived at his house two hours after the school day ended.

One bus got stuck near Dillow Dr., at which any attempts to move forward caused the bus to slide.

“We were stuck for about 15 minutes,” Audrey Lipsey, freshman, said, “Until the driver told us he couldn’t move and that we could walk.”

Like the students on Bus 55, those on 24 were not prepared to hike.

“It was about a mile and a half, but none of us had coats or gloves or anything. “ Lipsey said. “One girl was wearing open-toe heels.”

Even students who left school before 3:10 were faced difficulties, including Kirsten Driggers, senior, who left school 20 minutes early after her mom’s request and a look out the window.

“We slid into an intersection,” Driggers said. “I had to use my emergency brake.”

Struggling to get through the snow caused many to wonder if the fiasco could’ve been prevented by a different decision from the district office.

“If they had let us out early, it would have saved a lot of trouble,” Maust said.

Tuesday’s forecasts predicted high chances of snow. Early Wednesday morning, the Lake Oswego School District announced that school would end two hours early. The West Linn-Wilsonville District could’ve easily made the same choice. If students were let out before snowfall, then they would’ve got home quickly and safely, without having to wait hours or walk through the freezing snow.


If you have a snow story you’d like to share, email Philip Chan at [email protected].