Storm damage recovery

Severe Weather Advisory: PBOT urges public to use caution, clear sidewalks, do not abandon vehicles in winter conditions

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(4 p.m. Jan. 4, 2016) The Portland Bureau of Transportation warns the traveling public to be prepared for continued winter weather that may create hazardous traveling conditions overnight Monday night, into Tuesday morning.

Snow and ice accumulations since Sunday have begun to thaw. But a forecast of low temperatures, Columbia Gorge winds and rain on Monday night means the public should continue to exercise caution, especially when driving on hills and in high-elevation areas. Local weather and road conditions will vary considerably across Portland, so expect that the conditions you find when traveling could worsen along your route.

As the area thaws, it is important to remember that property owners are responsible for sidewalks adjacent to private property and driveways, including the removal of snow, ice, slippery leaves, and other debris.

“We all need to work together to clear the sidewalks by our homes and offices,” Portland Transportation Director Leah Treat said. “The traveling public, especially people with disabilities and people who depend on public transit, rely on clear sidewalks to access jobs and important services.”

PBOT will again have extra crews working overnight. They will use plows and trucks to clear slushy areas and break up ice, to help expedite drying of road surfaces. They also will look for trouble spots and will be prepared to close lanes or roads as needed.

PBOT urges the public to use public transit and biking and walking if you can avoid hills and high-elevation areas. People driving are urged to use caution, slow down and do not abandon your vehicle in a travel lane. Vehicles blocking travel lanes can delay emergency responders and cause traffic congestion.

In addition:

  • If you choose to drive, stay with your vehicle in a snow and ice storm. Any abandoned vehicle creating a safety hazard is subject to being cited and towed. To locate your vehicle, call Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044. 
  • If you are driving and visibility and conditions are getting worse rapidly, do not stop in a travel lane. Look for an opportunity to pull off the road into a safe parking area and wait for conditions to improve. If you cannot reach your home, move your vehicle off a major street or plow route onto a side street so that plows can completely open up major streets.
  • If you become stuck or stranded in severe weather, stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety until help arrives. While you wait for help to arrive, open a window slightly for ventilation, run your motor sparingly, and use your emergency flashers.
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other travelers. Keep your lights and windshield clean. Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  • Do not pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you're likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.

For more travel tips, see PBOT’s winter travel web page: 

PBOT also offers answers to frequently asked questions about the City’s preparations and response to snow and ice events and what the public should do before, during and after a storm. See:

A handful of roads remain closed Monday afternoon. Travelers must obey road closure signs for their own safety and for the safety of PBOT crews. PBOT makes road closure information available to the public. For the most current updates on road closures, follow PBOT's Twitter feed at A Twitter account is not necessary to view the listings. PBOT's website will also be updated at with weather-related road closures in Portland between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Residents are advised to notify PBOT of abandoned vehicles, mud, rocks, trees, or branches blocking a road by calling our 24/7 maintenance dispatch hotline at 503-823-1700.

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