Mailman 1954

"Does the mail HAVE to go through?" That seems to be the query of Postman Jack Grenz as he pauses for a breather outside a pickup box at W. Ninth Avenue and Walnut Street. Carriers, and Albany residents in general, sloshed through about three inches of snow early today before it began to fade with higher temperatures.

NOTE: The following article originally ran in the Tuesday, Jan. 26, edition of the Albany Democrat-Herald.

The Willamette Valley wearily lifted its head above a blanket of snow, shrugged its shoulders and suggested "business as usual" today following an intense snowstorm which left parts of several mid-valley communities without electricity or telephones and clogged U.S. Highway 99E between Salem and Albany for about five hours last night.

Some cars and trucks were held up in Salem and Albany for as much as three hours yesterday between 5:30 and 9 p.m. while nine state policemen attempted to bring order out of the automotive chaos.

Jackson Hill, three miles south of Salem, and Illahee Hill, eight miles south of Salem, were clogged by cars which failed to negotiate the fairly steep inclines. Even though one-way traffic was permissible during most of the critical six hours, state police said all motorists were forced to come to a halt at various times.

Some cars slid into roadside ditches on the hills and state police estimated that nearly 400 cars were involved in the snarl.

Cars and trucks were lined up for several blocks at the East Albany junction when state police stopped 99E traffic to restore order on the Jackson and Illahee hills.

Only one area of Albany was struck by power failures. The Mountain States Power Company said most of Sudtell Acres and sections of North Albany on both sides of the Willamette River were blocked out from 6:50 to 8:45 p.m.

Toppled poles in the Millersburg and other districts were being righted this afternoon by Mountain States crews and service was gradually being restored.

Most damage done to power lines was in a wide path from Philomath and Camp Adair in Mill City. Company officials said parts of those areas and Dallas and Stayton were without electricity from about 5:30 p.m. until early today.

The company said heavy ice snapped some power lines at every span.

Little difficulty was reported in Lebanon and Sweet Home.

Telephone service in the Albany area was badly disrupted by the sodden wreaths that hung on the wires and trees.

Manager Herman Albrich of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company reported today that all hands have been working since last night in attempting to restore services, but at noon, nearly 40 lines were still out of commission.

In all, about 50 lines were shorted out, leaving more than 300 subscribers without service during the night, said Albrich. Every possible effort was being made, he assured, to restore service to normal.

Most of the trouble was local, said Albrich, but some tall lines between Albany and Lebanon were knocked out. Long distance services, however, was not interrupted because other tall lines in those points were adequate to handle all calls at the time.

Albrich noted that some of the most serious trouble was in the Camp Adair area, where the temperature was lower than in Albany and where snow stuck to wires and trees.

Most of the disruptions were due to overweighted trees, said Albrich. The tree limbs would droop over wires and then, on dumping their burden, snap back, causing open circuits.

About 35 Jefferson subscribers were without telephone service for a short time.

Weather conditions were better in east Linn County than in the Albany area and Benton county. While driving was difficult, traffic was never blocked between Albany and Sweet Home last night.

Few cars were reported stalled and the temperature hovered just above freezing, so no trouble was inflicted by ice. Wet snowflakes on windshields caused chief concern. No serious accidents were reported in the area.

A total of 4.26 inches of snow fell on Albany yesterday and today, according to records of Seth French, United States Weather Bureau observer here. It brought the January total to 10.25 inches.

Precipitation for the month now totals 7.83 inches, with 1.37 inches being added during the 24 hours ending at 8 a.m. today, French's records showed.

Sweet Home reported 1.10 inches of precipitation.

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