Throughout our region, newspaper articles and blogs have been talking about the government’s response to our storm.  Yes, we are all frustrated by trying to get from place to place, whether it is by driving or on public transportation.  In Oregon and Washington, none of our city, county, or state entities really have the resources available to get traffic moving everywhere immediately.

In Portland, there is a lot of talk today about ODOT needing to plow I-5 South out of Portland to Wilsonville, during what was extended inot the evening rush hour.  The problem was compounded by the sheer number of cars and trucks blocking the road that the plowing crews had to work around.  Of course, for the driver on the freeway, it meant that trips that normally took 20 minutes were taking more like two hours to complete.  Needless to say, there were a lot of upset people,  who were delayed in getting home from work, getting to Christmas shopping, and otherwise travelling to where they needed to go.

I can understand that many people are frustrated and want to take out those frustrations on someone.  That “someone” is, of course. our elected officials.  They hold the budget purse strings and manage the people who lead the transportation department.  I believe that, while there is some validity to doing this, we must not let our emotions get pent-up and just cry that we will pit them out of office.  If you truly feel that strongly about this issue, it is up to you to let our officials know directly so that they can do something about it.

Currently, our state’s budget is being stretched by both a recession and decreasing tax revenues. The latter is a result of the will of the people. The answer is not to declare that we will vote the current government out of office. The solution is to get involved in our government and the budget process.

Our legislative session is going to be starting next month. Our elected representatives will be deciding on matters that the citizens bring before them, and they will be deciding how to spend our taxes over the next two years. If you strongly feel that more of our money should be spent on snow removal equipment and less of it on other things, then please contact the office of your local legislator.  They will be the folks who can do something about this issue.

Our representatives in Salem will not know what your priorities are unless you let them know. If this matter is truly important to you, please let them know.  On the other hand, if you just like to complain about things without wanting to offer a solution, then you are really just part of the problem.

My observation is that the ODOT and City of Portland DOT have been working hard on getting our community moving again.  The storm we had was truly a once-in-a-generation event, and it is questionable as to whether it would be worthwhile to invest too much more in snow removal equipment.  But if you want to see this issue have a higher priority in our capitol, the time to take action will be during next month’s legislative session.  You elected them.  You can’t have forgotten about all of the hoopla from last November.  Well, now is the time to put them to work!I encourage you to stand up for what you believe in. It will get more done than simply complaining about it.