Tuesday, November 14, 2006

God Angered by OR Elections; Pestilence to Follow Floods?

Clearly we Oregonians have drawn God's wrath. Sure, it rains a lot in Oregon, particularly in the fall and winter. And yes, the monsoon season typically starts in November, and we were already getting soaked by Election Day, but I still think the signs point to divine intervention. Is it simply the Cascade Mountains that is protecting points eastward from the deluge, or deus ex machina? You may ask, do I have a properly correlative analysis to prove that the hardest hit areas have been those seeking to upend the ordainments of The Almighty? Well, no--but that doesn't prevent Dick Cheney from claiming he knows the terrorists ramped up their bombing to help elect Democrats...so why punish me with your double standards?

It was certainly wet and blowy in my neighborhood, and not just in my blacked-out bedroom! (ba-dum). Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego was completely shut down yesterday for want of electricity; ours came on about 1AM. Sidebar: when did PGE's outage reporting system get so good? I entered my phone number, which they've had you do for years, but then was treated to a wealth of information. If I recall correctly I was the 181st caller to report an outage, and 2,781 houses were without power in my area. "The next available crew" was being dispatched, and although the outage source was unknown, they pledged to have the power back on within a couple hours. How can you argue with that? (Not that it's sane to argue with a recording).

OK, so that's a pretty mild storm story, although closing a high school is a big deal. Oregon Media Insiders recapped Storm Watch by calling it a near-miss that left networks vulnerable to the charge of overhype. The consensus among the anonymous media folk was that weather is cheap and easy; the story tells itself, so much the better if someone in a raincoat is getting battered by it.

The reality isn't quite so cavalier, however. Yes, flooding happens--but the destruction and peril to lives is real and not cool to go through at all. At its mildest forms are things like the Johnson Creek overflow that happens once every couple of years, as Portland Commissioner Sam Adams points out. He even points you to the flood gage on the creek, where you can watch it (or any other larger body in the watershed) crest and fall.

KGW did a nice job summing up the areas hardest hit, and Carla pointed out Sunday some of the devastation out on the coast. High winds and snow were the order of the day in some locales. Today Governor Kulongoski is trying to speed up the recovery process on Routes 18 and 35, apparently a little frustrated with DOT's pace:
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski today directed Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to take measures to re-open Highway 18 and Highway 35.

“We’re in continuous contact with officials out on the highways to assess local needs and make sure the state responds effectively,” the Governor said. “I want these highways opened quickly and safely.”

The Governor stressed that the safety of drivers would receive the highest priority as ODOT crews clear fallen trees and assess other storm-battered trees to determine whether they pose future dangers. ODOT workers expect to clear the fallen trees necessary for reopening of Highway 18 by noon Tuesday.
Yes, sir! I'm glad he's responding and working quickly--obviously this is partly his fault. Ron Saxton could have provided all this and more, simply by finding efficiencies in government and not trying to tax anything, ever. It was a can't miss prospect, and now our flirtations with sound fiscal policy and wise investment for contingencies have brought a literal deluge of disapproval from on high. How can we repent? How can the debt be paid, mighty Lords of Climate?

...Oh geez, really? Man...yeah, OK--but see, here's the thing: my car radio doesn't really pick up Lars all that well, and my wife won't even let me play talk radio when she's in the car, so uh...can you pick something else? Anything but that, I promise. How about I send Mary Starrett a box of chocolates, and "Be Kind to Minorities" T-shirts to Karen Minnis and Wayne Scott? Anything but Lars, Lord!