Blowing snow Wednesday caused the closure for several hours of some Oregon thoroughfares, early release for students and bus route cancellations.
Highway 11 between Milton-Freewater and Pendleton was closed in certain locations because of limited visibility from about 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Highway 204, the Tollgate Highway, was closed to all except local traffic due to severe weather and remained closed as of 2:45 p.m., according to Tom Strandberg, Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman. It will reopen when conditions improve.
By 2 p.m., Athena-Weston School District Administrative Assistant Paula Warner said most of the students who live in Milton-Freewater had been already picked up by their parents as news of the highway’s worsening condition became known.
“We’re calling parents to come and get their kids, and we’ll be here until they get picked up. We’ll have a slumber party,” Warner said.
The district had already canceled its mountain and river area bus routes for the day.
Although the Milton-Freewater Unified School District has just one student who lives off that stretch of Highway 11, the situation canceled an out-of-town game for a basketball team, Superintendent Aaron Duff said.
If the road had stayed closed, Duff knew the community would step forward to help anyone stranded in town and to keep people from driving in dangerous conditions, he said.
“I’m telling people, ‘Be safe, don’t make bad decisions. Be aware of drivers who are frustrated and are going to make bad decisions for the rest of the evening.’”
For updates on travel conditions, visit TripCheck.com or call 511 or 800-977-6368.
People outside of Oregon can call 503-588-2941.