Avoid all travel in winter weather
(Feb. 12, 2021) The National Weather Service has advised the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to expect 6 to 8 inches of snow to accumulate in the Portland area from today, overnight tonight and through Saturday. This is in addition to the snow accumulations from Thursday night.
Later today and tonight, there's a slight chance of freezing rain, which could make surfaces slick and treacherous, in southern parts of the metro area, southern parts of the city and potentially near downtown.
PBOT in 24-hour operations
With temperatures expected to stay near or below freezing, with wind exacerbating conditions, the public is strongly encouraged to delay travel to the greatest extent possible. If you do need to travel, consider public transit as your first option, and be prepared for delays, and look for alerts and changes to transit routes.
PBOT crews have been working in 24-hour emergency response operations since Wednesday night, and are expecting to continue working around the clock through the weekend.
With additional snow and freezing temperatures, the public should expect for snow on the ground and on streets to linger through the weekend. Snow routes are plowed to about a half inch above the road surface, to provide a driveable surface for front wheel drive vehicles or vehicles equipped with traction devices.
Snow chains, traction devices
PBOT strongly encourages anyone planning to drive on snow or ice in the city of Portland to use traction devices, or carry snow chains and be prepared to use them. Do not abandon your vehicle in a travel lane: It disrupts snowplows, police and fire responders, public transit and will likely result in your vehicle being towed with a citation.
As of Friday, snow chains or traction devices are required in Portland on West Burnside west of NW 23rd Avenue, and on SW Sam Jackson Park Road near Oregon Health & Science University.
As of Friday afternoon, there are several road closures in Portland. For the latest road closure information, monitor PBOT's Winter Weather Road Closures and Chain Advisories website.
An interactive map of road closures, real-time snowplow locations, elevation maps and other information is available at PBOT's Winter Weather Center: winterreadypdx.com
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:
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
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.