When snow begins to fall and it is predicted to have an accumulation of over 2” the City crews go into phase one, then phase two, and then phase three. If the snow continues to fall we will stay in phase one until snow is not falling.
Phase One: Our goal during this time is to clear and maintain the main traffic routes to the different areas of our City.
Phase Two: After the main routes are clear we move into the hill routes and down town commercial areas. At this time, we monitor the phase one routes to keep them in the best condition possible. During this time, we also deploy city personnel to City buildings and sidewalks, the airport, and during the late night or early morning to public parking lots.
Phase Three: We move into the residential areas. We send personnel and equipment to different locations and all work in a counterclockwise rotation thru the neighborhoods.
This is our plan of attack, with that said at any time we can be called away for an emergency such as water line breaks or frozen lines, motor vehicle accident or fire. Also if another storm rolls and starts dumping snow we may have to start over in phase one. There is also the breakdown of equipment.
We do our best NOT to plow snow onto sidewalks especially those sidewalks that have been cleared. We are not perfect and on occasion we do deposit snow on sidewalks, we apologize for this if it happens.
All this takes a lot of time and resources so please be patient with us and know that we are doing everything we can to clear streets as fast as possible with the equipment and personnel available.
Most Frequently Ask Questions:
Q: Where is the best place to shovel the snow from my driveway and sidewalk?
A: It is a violation of Ordinance to deposit materials in the street (chapter 92 and 94 of Hermiston Code of Ordinances). The best place to put snow from your driveway and sidewalk is on your lawn or planter areas beside your driveway. Throwing the snow from your driveway or sidewalk into the street creates a situation where when our plowing operation comes by, we plow it back into your driveway creating a larger amount for you to clear again out of your driveway.
Q: Why can’t the City remove the snow they plow in front of my driveway?
A: The city’s primary goal and duty is to provide safe and open access to the main roadway system. To be fiscally responsible, and in the interest of public safety in a whole, it would not be a feasible undertaking for the City to provide this service.
Q: Why don’t you plow to the center of the street?
A: Plowing and piling snow in the center of the street creates a safety hazard. The freeze /thaw cycle creates a bigger challenge when melting snow freezes on the road surface during evening hours. Traffic flow is restricted by eliminating a portion of the driving lane, and it creates sight and obstructions for low ground clearance vehicle.
Q: Can I park my car on the street?
A: Yes, on streets where parking is normally allowed. However, if parked on the street, your car could inadvertently be surrounded with a snow bank following our plowing operations. Maneuvering a snowplow in and out between parked vehicles can be very dangerous, and it is not and efficient way to plow snow. If you have the opportunity to avoid parking in the street, it is greatly appreciated and encouraged.
Q: Can I have the area of the street in front of my house cleared and piled on the street?
A: If you scrape or cause the snow in your parking area of the street to be scraped, please remove it from the street onto your property (the lawn area is a great place to put it, as the pile melts it will put moisture into the ground). Piling snow in the parking area and gutter causes safety hazards, sight obstructions and when the thaw begins the piles will restrict the flow to the drain inlets in the street and could cause flooding.
Q: Why did my street not get plowed until it was packed down to the point that it cannot be plowed?
A: It is not usually possible to plow all the streets utilizing the City’s limited staff and equipment within a couple of days. If we get hit with a second storm and have to return to phase one streets, phase three operation stops until we get caught up. We do try to pick up where we left off. We have approximately 180 lane miles to plow, depending on the plow it takes two passes to clear one lane. Traffic is what causes the snow to pack and unfortunately we cannot plow as fast as traffic packs it down.