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Storm damage recovery

Winter Travel Advisory: PBOT urges traveling public to avoid travel Friday and prepare for snow creating hazardous travel conditions Friday afternoon through Sunday

Press Release
Be prepared for worse conditions than expected, as forecasts come with uncertainty about timing and amount of snow;

Temperatures to stay below freezing through the holiday weekend
Published
Updated
An illustration of a Sasquatch shoveling snow on a street sidewalk with text that reads, "Get ready! Winter ready PDX."

(Jan. 11, 2024) The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) urges the public to avoid travel on Friday and Saturday, as severe weather could bring several inches of snow across the city and the Portland metropolitan area, creating hazardous road conditions.

The National Weather Service has advised PBOT to expect about 1 to 3 inches of snow starting as early as Friday afternoon and mostly accumulating Friday night and Saturday morning. Snow is expected throughout the region, including areas at low elevation such as downtown Portland.

Areas at 500 feet or higher above sea level -- including the West Hills, Mount Tabor and Pleasant Valley in East Portland -- could have 6 to 7 inches of snow. Those areas would likely be the first to see snowfall and experience the lowest temperatures.

Temperatures will remain below freezing through Tuesday, with high temperatures around 15 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Snow and other precipitation on city streets on Saturday could refreeze and linger for several days -- creating hazardous conditions -- especially on streets that are not snow and ice routes.

PBOT has been monitoring Friday's forecasts for more than a week. The bureau advised the public on Monday about the potential for snow, and many people have been finalizing their winter emergency plans in recent days.

For travel tips, an elevation map, road closures and more, see the PBOT weather hazards website

On Friday morning, PBOT crews will start 24-hour emergency response operations, working in 12-hour shifts. They are expecting to continue working around the clock through the holiday weekend.

"Crews from PBOT and regional partners work day and night in winter storms, so the rest of us can take public transit and get home safe," Transportation Commissioner Mingus Mapps said. "We need the public's help. Make a plan to stay off the roads, to clear the way for the snowplows. Check on your neighbors, especially seniors and people with disabilities who may need assistance. With care and thoughtful planning, Portlanders can get through severe winter storms safely and comfortably."

"In winter weather, PBOT crews are the first responders for the first responders," PBOT Director Millicent Williams said. "Our crews treat and plow the routes that are the most critical for police, firefighters and paramedics. We also prioritize routes for public transit service and access to hospitals and emergency shelters. Please avoid travel in the snow and keep your sidewalks passable for your neighbors. PBOT crews will work around the clock to keep critical routes safe for emergency services."

Don't abandon your vehicle:

Park in a legal space and find a warm, safe place to stay or walk to public transit

The City of Portland’s snow and ice plan discourages private vehicle use and encourages everyone to avoid travel during inclement weather.

If you do need to travel, consider public transit as your first option. Bundle up, be prepared to wait in extreme cold, and use extreme caution on sidewalks and streets. Always check trimet.org/alerts before heading out to get the very latest on delays, detours and cancellations. 

All forecasts come with uncertainty and they can change in the days and hours leading up to a storm event. 

At the first sign of snow, especially if it comes earlier than expected and you are away from home, it's best to avoid travel:

  • Find a safe, warm place to stay and delay your trip. Wait it out at the office, dine at a local restaurant or stay at a hotel to further delay travel. Those options may cost some money, but a citation and tow charges for an abandoned vehicle blocking a travel lane can cost more than $500 -- and still require you to walk home in snowy conditions.
  • Be prepared to travel based on the conditions you encounter during your trip. See accumulating snow? Slow down. Carry traction devices like chains and an emergency weather kit in your vehicle. Helpful items to include in addition to chains are a snow shovel, bag of sand, jumper cables, first aid kit, basic tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver and knife), blanket and warm clothing, extra food and water, cell phone and extra charger, and a flashlight.

    View additional winter weather travel tips online.

  • If you do choose to drive and find yourself without traction, move your vehicle away from travel lanes. Any vehicle parked illegally may face a tow, especially any vehicle blocking a travel lane, streetcar tracks or other public transit route. Abandoned vehicles that block travel lanes can slow down emergency responders and the snowplow operators who make safe passage for them.

PBOT’s mission is to provide at least one passable lane in each direction on snow and ice routes so that vehicles with front wheel drive or traction devices can get through. Depending on the severity of snow and ice, it can take up to three 12-hour shifts for our crews to sufficiently treat our routes with anti-icer. In a major snowfall, it can take our crews up to one 12-hour shift to plow our routes.

See our Winter Weather Center for a full interactive map of our routes.

A PBOT crew member installs heavy trains onto a truck ahead of winter weather.

During a winter weather event:

If you need to travel, consider TriMet: If you cannot delay travel during periods of snowy conditions, consider public transit as your first option, and be prepared for delays, and look for alerts and changes to transit routes. Public transportation schedules can be found via TriMet’s website, as well as PortlandStreetcar.org/schedules.

Monitor road closures: Current PBOT winter weather road closures and chain advisories

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.

Report Road Hazards Call PBOT Maintenance emergency dispatch 24/7 at 503-823-1700 or email at pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov or use the PDX Reporter mobile website.

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The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at www.portland.gov/transportation