Road conditions in Portland were treacherous during Thursday’s snowfall, which yielded around six to eight inches of snow in the area.
That meant for an extremely busy day and evening for Chief Jason Williams and the Portland Police Department. The department worked to assist with traffic and helping stranded motorists or drivers who had been involved in fender benders due to the snow. It also meant a busy day and evening for the city’s public works employees, who not only had to clear roads, but also deal with frigid overnight lows with temperatures falling into the single digits in the aftermath of the snowstorm.
For Williams, he said the situation was not as bad as it could have been.
“We didn’t have any road closings here in town. We did have about 15 to 20 either stranded motorists or vehicles off the roadway or accidents that we worked that required our intervention,” Williams said Friday. “Of course, there were more than that people just slid off the road and just left their vehicles. But there were probably 15 to 20 that we had to intervene in that were traffic hazards. It was worse (Thursday) with how quick that snow came in and everybody trying to get home. They’re still trickling in now, but just not at the same level we had (Thursday).”
It also helped that there was only one incident involving a tractor trailer truck getting stuck in town. That happened on Davis Street, but was not a serious matter.
Williams said the number of calls for help during the storm was not as numerous as last year when a snowstorm swept through the area.
“Overall I would say it was a little better this time than it was last time. I don’t know if this time people were better prepared or what, but it didn’t seem like there were as many problems as there were last year,” Williams said. “There were plenty, but it wasn’t like last year where there were just cars everywhere where you’d drive down the road and there were just abandoned cars everywhere. I think people did a better job of listening to advice and staying home when the could.”
The situation Thursday during the storm was challenging, but did not require the city to call in any extra officers to assist with managing the road conditions.
“We were able to handle it with what we had. We had some admin people that go out and helped. We were all pretty much out doing that instead of our normal office work that we might be doing,” Williams said.
For the Portland area, there were no serious injuries reported from Thursday’s snow.
Mayor Mike Callis praised the city’s street crews and EMS workers for their work Thursday, as well as crews from Cumberland Electric to stay on top of any possible power outages.
“Our first responders and street crew have done an amazing job, as well as utility crews working to keep everyone with service,” the Mayor said.
Road conditions were even maintained down along the ridge as there were no roads shut down, not even the ridge on Highway 109 between Portland and Gallatin.
“I think there was a backup a few times there, but I don’t know if it ever got shut down,” Williams said. “I know over in Westmoreland, they shut down the ridge (Highway 31E) over there, but I think they were able to pretty much keep 109 open.”
Williams has advice for when such hazardous conditions come about regarding driving. In one word, “Don’t.”
The police chief said that drivers who absolutely do not have to be on the roads should stay home and stay safe.
“The best course of action is to stay home. What happens is usually people are running around here just trying to see things. They end up sliding off the road, and that ends up taking resources from other things that are needed when we’re having to deal with that type of thing. It’s always best just to stay home if you’re able,” he said.
In have-to cases, extreme caution and care must be exercised in getting out onto the roads.
“Obviously some people can’t stay home, and if you can’t, the best approach is to just be patient, take your time and drive carefully and understand that braking and acceleration don’t work the same when there’s ice on the road as opposed to when it’s not,” Williams said. “Turning in seems to be the biggest problem sometimes. They’ll be driving down the road and they’re fine driving straight down the road, but they don’t realize you’ve got to start slowing down way sooner when you’re ready to turn, and they end up sliding off into the ditch.
“And also you have a lot of them that come up on a stop sign and instead of slowing down way back, they wait too long, and end up sliding into the intersection. Patience and caution are the two best words if you end up having to get out and drive on this.”
Portland Mayor Mike Callis will deliver his annual State of the City address at the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon on Jan. 18 at Southern Occasions Events Center at 11:30 a.m.
In the address, Mayor Callis will speak on various topics and issues related to the operation of the City of Portland and also discuss some of the plans and goals for 2022.
Unlike last year, the city address is scheduled to take place in-person. The 2021 State of the City address was delivered via Facebook Live on the Chamber of Commerce’s page with the mayor giving his comments virtually.
Portland Chamber of Commerce Director Sherri Ferguson said that the mayor’s message can still be viewed via the Chamber’s Facebook page this year for those who cannot attend the luncheon. However, she said the Chamber is excited that the State of the City address will be held in person again after last year’s virtual only speech.
“We are so glad to be able to have Mayor Mike Callis at our monthly luncheon,” Ferguson said. “This is a luncheon everyone looks forward to seeing what’s ahead for our city. We will have this in person this year, which is great, but you will also be able to view it on our Facebook page.”
Callis is excited to be able to deliver the State of the City address in-person as well and grateful for the opportunity to talk about the city’s growth and progress.
“Gathering together and talking about the great community of Portland is always a joy. We are just doing our best to move forward na posive way each day,” Mayor Callis said. “This city has much to be thankful for and much to be proud of, and I am blessed to be a part of it. I am hopeful that our future is brighter than we could ever imagine.”
With the State of the City address once again being in person, it means that a catered lunch will be served as in the past before the Covid-19 outbreak hit.
Southern Occasion Events Center is serving the meal and will include granny’s chicken casserole, loaded red potatoes, green beans, creamed corn, rolls and a variety of desserts.
The cost to attend and eat at the State of the City Luncheon is $20. The deadline for RSVPs is Friday, Jan. 14 or the cost is $25 at the door.
To make a reservation for the luncheon, contact Freda Scott at the Portland Chamber of Commerce at (615) 325-9032 or emailing Freda@portlandcofc.com.
A Franklin, Kentucky man was arrested after he apparently broke into the residence of his child’s mother and held her down against her will as she tried to phone for help.
Derek A. Smith, 34, of 425 Filter Plant Road, Franklin, was arrested on Jan. 2 after he made his way into a residence at 211 Brittany Lane in Portland, and assaulted the mother of his child.
Smith has not lived at the residence where the alleged incident took place in more than a year. Smith held the victim down on a bed by her wrists and would not let her up as she was attempting to dial 911 to get police to the scene. Smith took the phone from her possession and disconnected the call.
When police arrived, they arrested Smith and took him to the Sumner County Jail. He was arrested for domestic assault and interfering with emergency calls.
His bond was set at $1,500, and is scheduled to appear in Sumner County General Sessions Court on Jan 12 to face the charges against him.
A Portland woman was arrested after she allegedly tried to throw a lamp at her husband during an altercation that took place on Dec. 27.
Terri Coggins, 32, of 209 Portland Blvd., Portland, was arrested after she and her husband told differing stories to the police following the incident.
Coggins told police that she and her husband were having problems earlier that day and that they went to her grandparents house for a Christmas dinner. Coggins had been drinking while at her grandparents house and when they came home, she stated that she went to the bedroom and she and her husband began to argue again.
She said she picked up a folder full of paperwork and that her husband knocked it out of her hands. She then stated that her husband picked up a lamp and threw it at her, causing a knot and cut on her head.
When police interviewed the husband, he stated that his wife had been drinking during the day at the party and had more to drink upon returning home. He said he went to the bedroom to watch TV and was laying in the bed when Coggins became confrontational. He stated that she picked up the lamp and was going to hit him with hit, when he blocked it and it struck the wall, causing a cut to his hand.
He said Coggins came at him, and he used his arms to keep her from hitting him.
While police were at the scene, they smelled marijuana coming from the bathroom and found 14 grams of pot in a white jar with rolling papers. Coggins stated that it belonged to her.
She was arrested on charges of domestic assault, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Bond was set at $2,500 with a court date scheduled for Jan. 12 in Sumner County General Sessions Court.