Winter weather and City of Portland services

Information
Portland City Hall in the Snow
From road closures to home heating tips, the City of Portland can help you stay safe when severe weather hits. We're responsible for your streets, parks, water, storm drains and garbage collection, which can all be impacted by winter weather. Up-to-date winter weather information can be found here.
On this page

You can help all Portlanders survive the freezing temperatures by checking in on neighbors, whether housed or unhoused. 

If you see someone about whom you are concerned during cold weather, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call the non-emergency response line at 503-823-3333 and request a welfare check.

If someone outside is unsheltered and whose life appears to be in danger, call 9-1-1. 


Help for people experiencing homelessness

To find your nearest warming shelter, go to Multnomah County's "Care for when it's cold" page.

People seeking shelter can also dial 2-1-1 for the information on shelter locations and if they need transportation to a shelter. All sites are accessible to people with disabilities. Pets are allowed at all locations.

There is also current information on how you can volunteer at a warming shelter.

Go to 211info.org/donations to find lists of providers and their needs for winter gear – hats, coats, gloves, sleeping bags and socks, etc. Many providers include online shopping links along with their lists, making donating more convenient than ever. You can donate right from your phone or computer in just a few minutes. You can help by donating life-saving winter gear early in the season, so outreach teams will have them on hand when conditions turn especially cold.

Working with partners, the Joint Office of Homeless Services (joint effort of the City of Portland and Multnomah County) will continue to monitor conditions and open severe weather shelters when certain thresholds are met.

In addition to the severe-weather beds that open only when certain weather thresholds are met, the Joint Office of Homeless Services also funds more than 1,300 year-round and winter shelter beds open every night during the cold season. These beds are open day after day, no matter the forecast. Other community partners also add winter shelter capacity.

Outreach teams — including those from Transition Projects, JOIN, Janus Youth, Cascadia Behavioral Health and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office HOPE team — are also in the community, making contact with vulnerable populations, providing resources and sharing information about severe weather and year-round shelters.

You can also go to tprojects.org and sign up with Transition Projects to train as a warming shelter volunteer. Transition Projects is one of the community partners paid through the Joint Office of Homeless Services to staff severe weather shelters on the coldest or snowiest nights of the year. 

Remember, we can make a difference when we work together to keep our neighbors safe, warm and dry this winter.

Road closures and transportation updates

PBOT Ready Yeti Cartoon

Get the latest severe weather travel tips, road closures, chain advisories and more on the Portland Bureau of Transportation's Winter Weather webpage. PBOT serves as the City's hub for real-time information to help you stay safe and get where you need to go during winter weather events.

Check highway conditions before you go at TripCheck.com

Check trimet.org for the latest bus and MAX service information before you go. 

Parks and community centers

Are you planning to visit your favorite City park or attend an exercise class? Check Portland Parks & Recreation's Inclement Weather Policy and Closures.

Protect plumbing, report water main breaks and other service impacts

Cartoon of two Water Bureau employees turning off a water main in winter weather

Learn how to prepare your home plumbing for winter weather.

Check out The Water Blog for news about winter weather impacts to water. Be our eyes and ears! If you think you’ve spotted a broken main, call our 24-hour emergency line at 503-823-4874. Crews are ready to respond to emergencies, including water main breaks, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week.

Downed trees

Three workers stand outside on a snow covered street looking up at a fallen tree that takes up the entire top half of the photo.

Did you see a downed tree or large limb on City property or public streets? Report it by calling 503-823-TREE (8733). Please be patient; Urban Forestry crews are minimizing safety risks and clearing the largest debris first. Emergency dispatchers are available 24 hours per day, seven days a week.

Updated (April 14, 2022) 

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Urban Forestry staff are working to address more than 700 tree emergencies citywide due to the severe weather conditions. The priority is to remove trees and tree debris from public roads and thoroughfares, starting with the most-traveled routes and working our way into neighborhoods. It's important to provide ambulances and fire trucks with clear paths.

If you see large tree debris left by Urban Forestry emergency response efforts, crews will return at a later date to remove it. The large volume of emergency incidents this week will affect the timeline.

Here is additional information to help you as we continue the emergency response:

  • Call 503-823-TREE for the fastest way to report tree emergencies. If phone lines are busy, consider reporting online using the PDX Reporter website.
  • Emergency Situations:
    • If a tree emergency situation involves downed wires please contact your utility provider first. PP&R Urban Forestry staff are unable to respond until electrical hazards have been addressed. For road closures visit PBOT's webpage.
    • Please avoid calling for NON-emergency issues as crews are focused at this time on reopening major roads and thoroughfares in Portland.
  • Large Branches & Trunks:
    • For larger branches or stumps, contact your garbage and recycling company to get a cost estimate for a special bulky waste pickup. 
    • Or find pick-up and drop-off options through Metro's Find A Recycler tool: type in your home address and search for "branches" or "stumps." Or call 503-234-3000 to speak with a Metro recycling specialist (Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.).
    • If you see a woodpile that City of Portland crews assembled for later removal; that is standard protocol. It may take weeks for our capacity to allow for staff to remove the debris, as we deal with those more than 700 tree emergencies citywide.
  • Small Branches (up to 3 feet long and under 4 inches thick): 
    • For wood debris on sidewalk, it’s the responsibility of the adjacent property owners.
    • If your yard or sidewalk are filled with tree branches after the snow melts, you can fill your green compost bin with branches up to 3 feet long and under 4 inches thick. You can also set out extra bags, bundles or cans of branches for $3.75 per bag, bundle, or can (The maximum size is 32 gallons and 45 pounds per bag/bundle/can)
    • Additionally, please consider contacting a Tree Care Provider or lawn care professional to assist with your debris pile.

Home safety advice from Fire & Rescue

Graphic that says: fuel engines, generators, stoves, grills, etc., never indoors

Home heating can be a source of many hazards. From electric heaters to wood stoves, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of a fire. For more information on how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe in your home during winter weather, visit Portland Fire & Rescue's Fire Prevention and Safety Information website or PF&R's Twitter account for space heaterfireplace and other fire safety tips.

Stay safe when heating rooms in your home. Local fire departments report an uptick in families using space heaters to keep rooms warm. Alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating or cooking can cause carbon monoxide to build up — in a home, garage, or camper — and to poison the people and animals inside.

Garbage, recycling and compost collection

Snow and Ice Garbage and Recycling Pickup Snowman

In case of snow or ice, leave your bins at the curb. Your garbage company will come as soon as they can. Learn more.

Building inspections

Inclement weather may affect some building inspections from the Bureau of Development Services. Check the Bureau of Development Services’ web page and social media channels for the latest information on services affected by snow and ice.

General preparedness for winter weather

Graphic that says: Charge and gather medicine, water, food, flashlights, batteries, chargers and warm gear.

Questions on how to prepare for snow, ice, wind, and other winter weather? Visit PublicAlerts.org's winter weather resource webpage with information on how to stay safe and get help before, during, and after a storm.

Sign up for public emergency alerts

Sign up for public emergency alerts at PublicAlerts so you know when an emergency is happening in the Portland-Vancouver Region. Getting info quickly gives you power to take action. It could save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Sidewalks should be shoveled

Graphic that reads: signs your neighbor might need help; pets out all night, no lights inside, mailbox overflowing, not answering phone

Property owners or tenants are responsible for shoveling the snow and removing ice from in front of their homes and businesses. Check in with neighbors who might need a hand. Some elderly homeowners or people with disabilities may have physical challenges or risk injury in the snow and ice.