Eugene, Lane County School Closure Updates With More Freezing Rain On The Way

tree fallen in eugene snow
A utility pole bends over Hayden Bridge Road while trees hang low with ice during a winter storm on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, in Springfield, Ore. (Image by Ben Lonergan / The Register-Guard)

As residents of Eugene and the broader Willamette Valley, we've recently experienced a challenging spell of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. With the promise of clearer skies on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it's crucial to stay informed and prepared for the ongoing weather challenges and their impacts on our community.

Current Weather Situation in Eugene

Understanding the Climate Dynamics

The current weather pattern indicates a brief respite with cold and dry conditions expected until early Tuesday. However, a low-pressure system is on its way, bringing potential freezing rain into Wednesday.

ice covered roads eugene
Iced snowy roads remain closed on Sunday in Eugene, including Hilyard Street (Image courtesy of Love Cross / KLCC)

Temperature Trends and Forecasts

High temperatures are anticipated to return to the upper 40s or low 50s by Wednesday. This shift will bring rain in the Willamette Valley and snow in the Cascades for the remainder of the week.

Ice Accumulation Predictions

A significant concern is the forecast of 0.2 to 0.3 inches of ice on Tuesday in the central and southern parts of the valley. While less than the previous weekend's half-inch in some areas, this is still substantial enough to impact power lines and road conditions.

Addressing Power Outages and Road Closures

Power Outage Updates

Pacific Power and Eugene Water & Electric Board are tackling widespread power outages. The restoration process is in full swing, but residents should prepare for possible extended outages and stay clear of downed power lines.

Road Closure Information

Several roads and highways are closed due to fallen trees and hazardous conditions. Residents are advised to check local traffic updates regularly.

  • U.S 20 at Newport has reopened, but caution is advised due to extremely icy conditions.
  • Current road closures due to downed trees and power lines include:
    • OR 126 between milepost 14 and 41, stretching from Mapleton to west of Noti.
    • OR 36 from milepost 11 to 36, covering the area east of Swisshome to Triangle Lake.
    • OR 229 from its start at milepost 0 to milepost 31, running south of Lincoln City to Toledo.
    • U.S. 20 between milepost 32 and 72, spanning from Sweet Home to 2 miles east of Shea Viewpoint.

Furthermore, Lane County reports that Marcola Road is shut down from milepost 19 to the county border as a result of fallen trees. Territorial Highway is also closed at milepost 42, close to the Douglas County boundary. McKenzie View Drive is not accessible between Coburg Road and Hill Road, and Deerhorn Road is blocked off from its western end to Booth Kelly Road.

Public Safety and Emergency Measures

Emergency Routes and City Response

Eugene is under a Snow/Ice Emergency declaration, facilitating the clearance of major roadways. Emergency routes are being prioritized, and residents are urged not to park on these routes.

Reporting Hazards

For immediate hazards like downed trees, residents should contact the city's emergency number with detailed information. Non-hazardous obstructions can be reported online using the city's maintenance request form.

Park Closures and Safety Precautions

All city parks remain closed, and officials advise caution near trees due to the risk of falling limbs.

Community Updates: Schools, Transit, and Health Facilities

School Closures and Delays

Various school districts, including South Lane, Junction City, and others, have announced closures. Parents and students should stay tuned for updates from their respective districts.

  • Lane Transit District: Suspension of bus services until further notice.
  • Lane Community College: Closure until further notice. Men's and women's basketball games against Chemeketa Community College postponed.
  • South Lane School District: Closed on Tuesday, no school-related activities.
  • Junction City School District: Closed on Tuesday.
  • Fern Ridge School District: Tuesday closure.
  • Pleasant Hill School District: Not operational on Tuesday.
  • Crow-Applegate-Lorane School District: Closed on Tuesday, preschool activities canceled.
  • Blachly School District: Not open on Tuesday.
  • Mapleton School District: Shutdown on Tuesday.
  • Marcola School District: All schools closed on Tuesday, including kindergarten and preschool; no activity buses running, school-sponsored activities canceled.
  • Eugene Christian School: Shut down on Tuesday.
  • Lebanon Community Schools: Tuesday closure.
  • Central Linn School District: Not operational on Tuesday.
  • Sweet Home School District: Closed on Tuesday.
  • City of Eugene Parks: Immediate closure advised, with warnings near trees.
  • Eugene Airport: Experiencing several flight cancellations and delays.
  • University of Oregon Campus: Shut all-day Monday and Tuesday until at least noon, all public events canceled.
  • Willamalane Parks: Shut until further notice.
  • PeaceHealth: Closure of all specialty, walk-in clinics, and urgent care on Tuesday; rescheduling most elective surgeries, other hospital operations ongoing.
  • Cascade Health: Closed on Monday, except for Pete Moore Hospice House.
  • Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center: Monday closure.
  • Slocum Orthopedics: Not open on Monday.
  • MLK Jr. Marches: Cancellation of both Martin Luther King Jr. Day marches in Eugene and Springfield.
  • Deerhorn Road: Shut west of Booth Kelly Road, due to fallen trees and power lines.
  • McKenzie View Drive: Closure resulting from falling trees.
  • OR-126: Shutdown from Poodle Creek Road, Cheshire to Indian Creek Road, Swisshome, due to hazardous trees or vegetation.
  • OR-36: Not operational from Poodle Creek Road, Cheshire to Indian Creek Road, Swisshome, due to hazardous trees or vegetation.
  • OR-99: Closed between E Saginaw Road and Lynx Hollow Road, owing to hazardous trees or vegetation.
  • Marcola Road: Not accessible from Bowman Road to County Line Road, due to fallen trees.
  • Territorial Highway: Closed south of milepost 42, caused by fallen trees.
  • Interstate 5 Advisory: No closure, but officials warn of multiple crashes due to ice between miles 167-172 (Cottage Grove area); 20-minute delay expected for northbound traffic due to stop-and-go conditions.

Transit and Travel Advisories

Lane Transit District has suspended bus services until further notice. Residents are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel to aid road clearing efforts.

Health Facility Notices

PeaceHealth and other health facilities have announced closures for clinics and elective surgeries, urging residents to check their websites for the latest information.

Community Support and Warming Centers

Egan Warming Centers

The Egan Warming Centers are operational, providing shelter to those in need. They are currently seeking donations of gloves and blankets to support their efforts.

State Emergency Coordination Center Activation

The Oregon Department of Emergency Management is coordinating resources and support, including warming shelters. Residents in need of shelter or assistance can contact 211.

Preparedness and Safety Tips

Emergency Kits and Plans

Residents should prepare emergency kits with essential items like water, non-perishable food, and first-aid supplies. Staying informed and having an emergency plan is crucial.

Gas Conservation

NW Natural has requested customers to conserve gas during this period by lowering thermostats and minimizing hot water usage.

The current weather situation in Eugene and the Willamette Valley is a reminder of the importance of staying informed, prepared, and supportive of one another during challenging times. By following safety guidelines, staying updated on closures and outages, and helping those in need, we can navigate these conditions effectively and with minimal disruption to our daily lives. Let's stay connected, cautious, and community-focused as we weather this storm together.

Stay Informed and Safe

Remember, the key to navigating these challenging weather conditions is to stay informed and prepared. Keep up-to-date with the latest weather forecasts, road closures, and power outage information. Your safety and well-being, along with that of your neighbors and community, are paramount during these times.

For any further information or updates, please refer to local news sources and official city and emergency management websites.

During extreme weather conditions, it's crucial to prioritize safety, especially when considering road travel. Hazardous road conditions can arise unexpectedly, making even familiar routes dangerous. Before deciding to travel, it's essential to thoroughly check for any potential hazards.

This can include monitoring local weather forecasts for updates on conditions like ice, heavy snow, or flooding. Additionally, utilizing resources like TripCheck is highly recommended. TripCheck provides real-time information on road conditions, traffic incidents, and weather-related closures. It's a valuable tool for assessing the safety of your intended route. However, if the weather is particularly severe, it's best to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary. If you must travel, ensure your vehicle is well-equipped for emergency situations, including having winter tires, chains, and an emergency kit. Remember, your safety and the safety of others on the road should always be the top priority.