Fern Ridge Review
Sweet Lorane Community News
February 28, 2019
By Pat Edwards
Today, Thursday, February 28, is the first day in a while that I’ve been able to sit down at my computer and write. Jim and I have spent the last four days living in the family room and breakfast nook of our home where an indoor propane heater kept the cold temperatures away. Our power had gone out along with that of so many others throughout Lane County because of the massive snowstorm. The first day and night were spent trying to keep trails through the accumulating snow and getting organized for what we feared would be a long haul without electricity. Jim was unable to make it out of our driveway, much less make the drive from our home to Lorane to open the store. The power was out there, too, and there was absolutely no traffic passing our home on Territorial Road… only one large 4-wheel-drive truck was able to make a lonely track on the road early in the day, and that quickly filled up with the new falling snow. I heated leftover coffee from the day before in a pan on a small butane campstove that I kept out on the front porch. Our breakfast, the new frozen “crustless quiches” that we had gotten from Costco a few days before, was also heated in a skillet on the stove. Our cell service was not working at first, but finally, we were able to send and receive text messages.
That first day, Jim worked to get our small generator working, but it didn’t want to start. In the early afternoon, our daughter, Michele and her husband Brian, who live a mile and a half from us were able to drive their truck with chains part of the way to our house, and they hiked in the rest of the way. They came to see how we were doing and to help us get set up for what we suspected might last for several days to a week.
The heavy snow collapsed the small canvas canopy covering my car and Brian worked to shovel snow off of it to reduce the damage the metal tubing structure was doing to it. That first night was spent with heat from the propane heater until we turned it off before going to bed, light from my Coleman propane lantern while I read to pass the time, and candles and flashlights to light our way to the bedroom where we slept, fully clothed under the warm covers. When Jim was finally able to get the generator running, power cords were like spider webs across the floor and we were able to plug in the coffee pot, phone chargers, the microwave and fortunately (for my own sanity), Jim’s TV set.
Michele and Brian were able to make a run into town and bring us more gasoline and propane as well as a few staples. Our daughter Gloria kept in close contact with us as well and came the next day with our honorary daughter, Tracie, to help shovel snow and free my car from the canopy.
Our son Rob, a surgical assistant for Slocum Center, on the other hand, had to make his way early that first morning from his home in Cottage Grove to RiverBend where he had surgeries scheduled. After one hip replacement, the hospital which was on its own generators, cancelled the rest of the schedule and Rob headed home. The normal 20 minute trip down the freeway took him 5 hours before he finally got home, only to head back in the next day at noon.
Thanks to the hard work of the crewmen at Lane Electric Coop, our power was restored yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. Our vehicles are still in the driveway, but Jim plans to venture out today to try to open the store which still does not have power along with most of Lorane.
Despite the problems, we were lucky. Our experience was so much easier than that of others, we know. As I write this, some are still facing several more days to a week without electricity. Some have lost buildings to the weight of the snow. Others have been reporting the generosity and caring of neighbors who came to their rescue… clearing downed trees from roads and driveways, shoveling snow off of roofs threatening to fall and providing assistance to those living alone or who are unable to manage on their own.
Many of us despair at the way our society has divided politically over the past few years, but difficult conditions and emergencies such as we’ve experienced (and are still experiencing) this past week, demonstrate our basic “human-ness.” We do care about each other and it comes out in the form of neighbor helping neighbor.
That, in itself, is enough to warm our hearts in a very special way and to rekindle our hope in the future.