Portland, OR Accidents on the Ice, Jan 1922


Portland Experiences Slipperiest Day of Winter.


Danger of Silver Thaw Is Believed Past, With Thermometer Above Freezing.

At the end of a perfect day for the automobile repair men---a day in which three persons were severely injured and the average daily number of minor traffic accidents doubled by a coating of ice on streets and sidewalks. Weatherman Wells said last night that he believed the danger of a silver thaw to be past. Low temperatures were looked for during the night, but with the thermometer above rather than below the freezing point.

The day was the slipperiest in Portland so far this winter. A light rain and a temperature slightly below the freezing point combined to coat Portland's pavements and sidewalks with a thin layer of ice. Serious physical injuries resulting therefrom consisted of the amputation of one man's leg beneath the wheels of a street car, the breaking of another man's leg when he fell while stepping out of an auto, and the breaking of a third man's arm when he lost his footing and fell to the sidewalk.

Injured Are Listed.

The injured are:

George B. Lee, 4848 Sixty-second street Southeast, left leg cut off below knee.

Arthur E. Cook, 774 Wasco street, cigar salesman employed by Si Rich, leg fractured at ankle.

Simon Jornak, tailor, Auditorium Court apartments, arm broken.

George B. Lee, aged 32, and married, lost his left leg just below the knee when he slipped and fell beneath the wheels of a Mount Scott street car at Laurelwood station. He was removed to the St. Vincent's hospital where it was necessary to amputate the leg. His condition last night was said to be serious from shock and loss of blood.

The injured man was hurrying to board the street car for town when he slipped just as he reached for the handrail. He is a salesman employed by the Standard Oil company.

Autos Are Damaged.

Arthur E. Cook, was on his way home when he stepped out of an automobile, slipped on the ice-coated curb and jammed his foot between the curb and the running board of the machine. He was taken to his home and subsequent X-ray examinations showed a break in the bone.

Simon Jornak fell and broke his arm when he stepped out of his home and slipped on the sidewalk. He was taken to St. Vincent's hospital.

The principal sufferers on account of the ice, in point of numbers at least, were the automobiles.

Normally, about 50 minor accidents a day are reported to the police, but yesterday's total was a little more than the 100 mark, due almost entirely to skidding on the ice.

That this number was not several times greater is believed to e due to the fact that motorists left their machines in the garage and came to town by streetcar.

The real danger zones were the steep paved grades leading to the heights on both sides of the river. Milk deliveries were hours late in the residential sections because the heavy trucks were unmanageable, and the bottom of nearly every paved hill was the location of one or more machines with broken wheels and axles. Many an automobile or truck came sliding backwards or sideways down the hills, out of control and escaped serious damage by mere luck.

Cables Help Vehicles.

At the east approach of the Sell-wood ferry, cables were rigged to help motor vehicles up and down the incline after several westbound had crashed into the fence of the East Side mill's property to avoid going clear into the river.

Conditions resulting in the coating of ice were the same as those which in the past have given Portland and vicinity their silver thaws or ice storms, according to Edward L. Wells, head of the local office of the weather bureau, only less severe. A continuation of the freezing temperature for a few hours more, he said, and its extension a little farther above the ground, would probably have resulted in more or less damage to wires and shrubbery.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 17 Jan 1922