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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: snow

Governor seeks storm help for businesses…

Gov. Chris Gregoire is asking the federal government to declare a statewide “economic injury disaster” for Washington’s businesses due to the heavy snow storms in December.

The move by the federal Small Business Administration would free up low-interest loans for businesses at a time when credit’s already very tight, the governor said.

Here’s the request.

Seattle’s no-salt ideal for roads: hard-packed snow and ice?

“Compact snow and ice” is a familiar cautionary refrain to winter drivers, but in Seattle, it’s apparently what city road crews are striving for.

The Seattle Times has a story about this today, quoting a city transportation official as saying that the goal in hilly Seattle is “a hard-packed surface” of snow and ice. From the story:

The icy streets are the result of Seattle’s refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.

“If we were using salt, you’d see patches of bare road because salt is very effective,” Wiggins said. “We decided not to utilize salt because it’s not a healthy addition to Puget Sound.”

No word on whether auto-body shops are viewing this as an economic stimulus plan.

Several state offices closed due to yesterday’s snow, ice…

Several state offices have shut down today, as the Olympia area is blanketed with dense wet snow from yesterday and several previous days. Of the four capitol reporters who made it in to my office this morning, three got their cars stuck in the parking lot. (The fourth is a sturdy native Idahoan at the wheel of an old four-wheel-drive Nissan.) The weather has hampered staffing at state offices since the middle of last week. On Thursday, the Employment Security Department temporarily closed its two call centers that field requests for unemployment insurance claims, saying that snow and ice made it too hazardous for employees to get there to man the phones. (Most workers can also file a claim online at

Snow paralyzes capitol…

I know this is hard to believe in places with things like snow plows and sanders, but 2 1/2 inches of snow overnight has left the capital city at a near-standstill, with a small number of cars and trucks creeping over snow that’s been compacted to make for some nice sledding indeed.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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