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Originally published Monday, December 22, 2008 at 7:40 PM

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I-84 still closed in Columbia Gorge; Highway 14 opens

The weekend storm combined with fierce east winds to slam the Columbia River Gorge. Over the weekend, Interstate 84 in Oregon was shut down and Gorge communities experienced blizzard conditions.

The weekend storm combined with fierce east winds to slam the Columbia River Gorge. Over the weekend, Interstate 84 was shut down and Gorge communities experienced blizzard conditions.

As of Monday afternoon, I-84, which is on the Oregon side of the Gorge, remained closed with a huge backup of trucks and other traffic parked near the western entrance to the Gorge. And Gresham, an Oregon city near the western edge of the Gorge, declared a state of emergency as the wind kept piling up drifts.

On the Washington side, Highway 14 opened Monday afternoon to vehicles with chains or four-wheel drive with studded tires.

During the storm, Washington's Skamania County residents got several feet of snow that was whipped in drifts by high winds.

But overall, county residents appeared to be surviving the storm in good shape and without major power outages, said Dave Cox, Skamania County's undersheriff.

"A lot of folks here are pretty self-reliant, and they know how to throw another log on the fire, and hunker down," Cox said.

Highway 14's opening has allowed trucks to come in to resupply county communities, but the highway has not been opened as an alternative route for the big rigs that typically use Interstate 84, Cox said.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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