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Jan-09-2008 17:28printcomments

Snowslide Covers Oregon's Santiam Pass

Eight commercial vehicles and one sport utility vehicle were trapped in the area until it was cleared by ODOT crews.

Photos of snow on Oregon's Santiam Pass, 1-9-08
Photos by: Senior Trooper Mike Brady/Oregon State Police
See full size photos below story

(SANTIAM JUNCTION, Ore.) - Oregon State Police troopers again assisted Oregon Department of Transportation crews Wednesday with the Highway 20 closure at Santiam Pass caused by a large snowslide.

According to Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Mike Brady, a westbound sport utility vehicle became stuck at about 10:00 PM last night, causing two commercial trucks behind it also having to stop and became stuck.

District Manager Don Jordan says that with all of the snow that the area has gotten in the last couple of weeks followed by another several inches of snow over the last couple of days on the steep terrain, it created the perfect conditions for a slide.

"After the first series of slides yesterday, we sent personnel from the valley to assist crews on the pass. Crews will continue to work around the clock to keep the roads open, but we advise the public to avoid traveling through the passes if possible."

Eastbound traffic including a tanker truck pulling a tanker trailer stopped and eventually it was covered by an additional slide.

In total, eight commercial vehicles and one sport utility vehicle were trapped in the area until they were able to clear with the help of ODOT crews.

One Oregon driver attempting to travel from Salem to The Dalles Tuesday, Tina Miller, commented on how fast many of the semi trucks were traveling under what she described as "white knuckle" conditions. All drivers should maintain realistic speeds and not pressure other drivers in inclement weather, it could cost a person their life.

Miller completed her journey safely, but it is an interesting side note that truckers are driving in an intimidating fashion when so many are involved in recent crashes on Oregon's freeways and highways.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.