PBOT Travel Advisory: With snow in the forecast, prepare this weekend for next week's winter weather

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PBOT crews are coming to work on Sunday to get ready

Are you ready?

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(Jan. 10, 2020) With a variety of forecasts all calling for freezing temperatures and the potential for snow next week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) urges the traveling public to get ready for winter this weekend.

PBOT crews will report to work on Sunday, to get equipment prepared for snow and ice response. Low temperatures could create slick conditions Sunday night at high elevations in the West Hills or East Portland. Snow or other winter precipitation could affect road and sidewalk conditions from Monday through Friday.

The public should be ready for the potential to telecommute or rely on public transit next week. The time to prepare yourself and your family is NOW! 

While the forecast is still unclear, there are some simple things all Portlanders can do to prepare themselves for winter weather.

While the forecast is still unclear, there are some simple things all Portlanders can do to prepare themselves for winter weather.

  • Make a checklist for your home, business, and/or vehicle. Property owners, tenants and businesses should have supplies on hand, such as ice melt and snow shovels to clear sidewalks as well as pathways across their driveways.
  • Everyone driving in Portland should carry snow chains and an emergency kit in their vehicle all winter long.
  • Create an emergency plan with your family or work colleagues that emphasizes telecommuting, public transit and emergency meeting locations for your commute. Check our Winter Weather Center to see the snow and ice routes nearest you.
  • Stock up on provisions such as food, water, clothes, and medicationsyou, your family, your pets, or your business will need in case you are stranded by winter weather -- at home, or on the road in your vehicle.
  • Check in with vulnerable neighbors who may need help stocking up on supplies ahead of a storm or clearing their sidewalks afterward.
  • Know your elevation, and the elevation of areas you are traveling to and through. Check the interactive elevation map in the "Elevation, Weather and Traffic" section of PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to see if your area is located at 500 feet or 1,000 above sea level. Use PortlandMaps.com to look up any address in Portland and find the approximate elevation.
  • Worried about water pipes at your home or business? Winterize your building with tips from the Portland Water Bureau.

Learn about how Portland responds to winter weather, see winter weather travel tips and other essentials:

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Do you know which streets PBOT plows in your area?
Check the maps on the Winter Weather Center: PortlandOregon.gov/Winter State Highways are maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation, for example: Powell Blvd, 82nd Avenue and SW Barbur Blvd
See Ask ODOT and check highway conditions before you go at TripCheck.com 
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PBOT advises the public to be aware of forecasts, use caution, and delay your travel to avoid traveling during forecast snow or ice. Consider public transit, and check trimet.org/alerts and portlandstreetcar.org for service alerts before you go.

PBOT also reminds property owners, tenants and businesses that they are responsible for clearing sidewalks of snow and ice. It is important that sidewalks are clear so that people who are walking to transit and people with disabilities can move about safely.

In icy conditions, PBOT strongly advises delaying travel if possible. If people must travel, PBOT recommends taking public transit.

Zoom in on your travel route, see areas at 500 feet or 1,000 feet or higher in the PBOT Winter Weather Center

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Use PortlandMaps.com to look up any address in Portland and find the approximate elevation
  • Stay informed. Sign up for PBOT alerts via text or email. Go to PBOT’s Winter Weather Center to track real-time weather, traffic, road closures and plow information. Sign up at Public Alerts for emergency notifications from all regional agencies via text, email or phone. 
  • Never abandon your vehicle in a travel lane, especially on rail tracks for Portland Streetcar and MAX light rail. If you choose to drive and your vehicle loses traction, pull over into a shoulder or legal parking space. You can call for a tow truck and remain with your vehicle. Or you can leave your vehicle legally parked and walk carefully to a public transit stop or other safe place.
  • Don't get towed! Any vehicle blocking a travel lane or otherwise creating a safety hazard is subject to citation, tow and impound. The cost of a citation and tow for abandoned vehicles preventing free passage is $206. This is in addition to the citation cost of a Class B traffic violation (ORS 819.100) with a presumptive fine of $270. Additional costs to store a towed vehicle longer than four hours is $28 per day.

PBOT’s Misson: In winter weather, our crews work around the clock on our designated snow and ice routes to make sure there is one passable lane in each direction as soon as possible after a winter storm.

This means that front wheel drive vehicles or vehicles with traction devices such as snow chains will be able to get through.