Still-slushy roads challenge Central Oregon drivers

Some residents trapped in their neighborhoods

Slushy roads continue to make tough...

BEND, Ore. - Another day into Central Oregon's "big melt" brought more challenges for drivers Thursday.

Both ODOT and the city of Bend said Thursday their crews have been working overtime to solve the problem, but there are just too many problem areas to get at once.

Bend is working with only 18 pieces of equipment and has received hundreds of calls over the last couple days, leaving many parts of the city uncleared.

"The problem here is we have at least six inches of slush," northwest Bend resident Jean Brown said. "And our road is impassible, particularly in the morning when it's frozen."

Many people are hiring private plows, but that's not an option for everyone.

"I did call our private homeowner's association and we cannot privately contract it," Brown said. "It's not legal. So at this point, with my front wheel drive car with studs on, I can't predictably get up and down our street and make the curve to even get into our home."

Large puddles forming in catch basins are another problem confronting drivers. There are over 11,000 of such catch basins in the city.

A whole new crop of potholes is just another problem drivers and street cleaners face. During the winter, they have to use a temporary mix to fill them, and some need to be refilled a few times during the season.

And it's not just driving being made difficult by these conditions. Those who try to walk around the city have to venture onto the street in some places.

"(On) 27th Street here, all the sidewalks have not been touched since the first snow fell," Bend resident Mervin Fleming noted. "No snow was removed off of them. I have multiple sclerosis, and I have trouble moving around, where I've got to pick up my feet and I can't get through the snow."

Others have expressed concern about students having to walk in streets to get to school or a school bus stop due to uncleared sidewalks.

Plowing sidewalks are the property owner's responsibility.

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