It's been a snowy week—more than Portland's seen in years! If you, like many wise souls, decided to give your cars a break to avoid skidding around in the ice and slush, your options were hoofing it or taking the bus. And even on the first day of snowfall, when the city quietly panicked, the buses managed as best they could—running somewhat roughshod, but running nonetheless. Jeffrey Rose is one of the many operators (the correct way of saying "bus driver" these days) who was out in the thick of it, and for his heroic efforts to haul the freezing populous around, he has earned the title of "Employee of the Week."
Which lines do you drive?All of them, but most frequently I'm on the 4, the 72, or the 14.
Did you have any heroic adventures when the snow hit?
The day of the snowstorm I went for a round trip on the 4. I left the garage at 98th and Powell and headed east toward Gresham. Along Powell I started picking up half-frozen passengers that had been waiting for the Powell bus, which hadn't shown up in over an hour. Halfway to Gresham, along 148th, my rear wheels spun slightly and broke a link on the snow chains. Searching through my bag for something to secure the chain with, I found... nothing. Except a bunch of little rubber bands that are used to bundle together transfers and schedules. I rubber banded the loose chain to another chain along the side of the tire. It worked for about two blocks. Next thing I tried was a little climbing clip that they use to attach a tag to the operator's bag—it worked for about five blocks. So I tied the bus up. After sitting there for a few minutes, in the middle of nowhere, wondering how long it would take a crew to get to me with god knows how many other buses tied up, I decided I was going to make it to Gresham, damn it! So I drove at 4 mph for 45 minutes to the Gresham Transit Center and... there was no chaining crew. There was a large group of people waiting for the 9. Some had been there for almost two hours. So thinking I'd hobble back to the Powell Garage for new chains, I loaded them up and took them down Powell, again at 4 mph. Something like an hour later, as I neared the garage with only a handful of passengers left, the real 9 passed me and took my remaining passengers. I went into the garage and got new chains. That was just the first time they broke that day. MARJORIE SKINNER