PBOT Travel Advisory: With snow in the forecast for Thursday through the weekend, prepare now for winter weather

Traffic Advisory
This image says "Get Ready!" with an image of the Portland Bureau of Transportation's winter ready sasquatch mascot.
PBOT crews are working all day and overnight tonight to get ready

Are you ready?

(Feb. 10, 2021) With a variety of forecasts all calling for freezing temperatures and the potential for snow starting midday on Thursday through the weekend, the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) urges the traveling public to get ready for severe winter weather.

The National Weather Service has advised PBOT to expect the potential for snow from Thursday morning through Friday afternoon, with 1 to 3 inches likely to accumulate over that period. Temperatures are expected to drop through the afternoon on Thursday. Snow accumulations could cause road hazards throughout the city, both at areas of high elevation and at sea level near downtown.

Wind gusts in the Thursday evening hours, especially east of Interstate 205 towards the Columbia River Gorge, could exceed 40 mph and start to produce fallen limbs or trees that could produce roadway hazards. There's some potential for icy conditions Thursday morning through Friday afternoon in south and southwest parts of the metro area.

Snow is forecast to return, potentially in greater amounts, Friday night into Saturday morning.

All year long, PBOT crews evaluate and adjust winter weather plans. In the fall, we check our equipment and our crews re-orient themselves with snow plow operations and other winter response procedures. We have been monitoring the forecast of this week's event for days. For several days this week, we have been doing anti-icing work, spreading thousands of gallons of magnesium chloride on the bridges, overpasses and high-elevation routes throughout the city.

PBOT crews today started prepping snow and ice equipment, including attaching plows to trucks. Starting tonight, PBOT crews will start working in two shifts to cover 24 hours of operation, to get be ready for snow and ice response.

The public should be ready for the potential to telecommute or rely on public transit.

The time to prepare yourself and your family is NOW! 

While the forecast can be uncertain and continue to change, there are some simple things all Portlanders can do to prepare themselves for winter weather.

  • Avoid travel in severe weather, and make a plan to help you delay your travel if at all possible. If you must travel, consider public transit your first option to avoid driving.
  • 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.
  • Report downed trees. 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.
  • Wondering about other city services and infrastructure? Prepare and stay up to date on water pipes, garbage collection and more at the City's winter resources website. Includes how to find support, or how you can support people who are experiencing homelessness this winter.

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

This image shows the Winter Weather Center snowplow routes and a legend describing what the lines and icons mean
Find a snowplow route near you on PBOT's Winter Weather Center. During a winter storm, the interactive map will show the movement of PBOT snowplows, anti-icing vehicles and other vehicles in real time.

Do you know which streets PBOT plows in your area?
Check the maps on the Winter Weather Center:


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 

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

This image shows the elevation map on the Winter Weather Center, where you can also find links to traffic cameras.
See maps with elevation information, links to traffic cameras with live images of road conditions, and more at PBOT's Winter Weather Center.

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 Mission: 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.

Due to our modified operations since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we urge the public to give our crews extra time and extra room. To keep our crews safe from coronavirus, vehicles will only have one person in them: the driver.