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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Press Release: Here’s What You Need To Know About Winter Weather This Weekend


Here’s What You Need To Know About Winter Weather This Weekend 

(Feb. 8, 2019) The National Weather Service recently issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Portland metro area, with the potential for accumulating snow beginning Friday evening and continuing into Saturday. A second system with significant snow accumulation is expected to arrive Sunday night and will continue into the work week. Here’s what you need to know:

Winter weather resources to consider sharing through social media in the coming days:


Forecasts showing significant snow accumulation, as well as sub-freezing temperatures, mean severe weather shelters will again reopen in Multnomah County on Friday night, Feb. 8.

Severe weather shelters do not require identification or any other documentation.

No one seeking shelter during severe weather will be turned away — and more sites will open as needed. The Joint Office will continue to monitor forecasts and escalate the response to weather conditions as needed over the coming days. 

Go to or call 211 for the latest information on which shelters are open, and when, and to coordinate transport for anyone who needs shelter but does not have a way to get there. Families with children should contact 211 directly to access and arrange transport as needed to severe weather shelters. 


Urgently, service providers and the Joint Office are continuing their call for community donations of life-saving winter gear — particularly before this evening, when snow is expected to begin accumulating.

Because this season was mild up to this point, service providers say they haven’t been receiving their usual amount of donated supplies, which help outreach workers keep people warm and dry night after night.

Please visit to see a specific list of winter gear and where it can be dropped off. Providers also have an online shopping list to make donating more convenient, which means anyone can donate over the weekend, even if snow and ice have made roads difficult to traverse. Items ordered online can be delivered directly to JOIN, 1435 NE 81st Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR, 97213.

JOIN is also taking donations in person at that address. Transition Projects, at 665 NW Hoyt in downtown Portland, is also accepting in-person donations 24/7 and will bundle and share those items with other providers as needed.

The following items are needed:

  • Thick socks
  • Waterproof/resistant gloves or mittens (preferably dark colors/black)
  • Waterproof/resistant winter coats (men’s and women’s sizes)
  • Sleeping bags and warm blankets
  • Waterproof/resistant hats (preferably dark colors/black)
  • Knit hats (preferably dark colors/black)
  • Tarps (preferably brown, dark colors)
  • Hand warmers
  • Rain ponchos


If you see someone whose life appears to be in danger or is in an apparent medical crisis, please call 911.

Otherwise, if you see someone with whom you are concerned, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call 911. In this weather, not being properly dressed could be a life or death situation.

To help someone find shelter and arrange transportation to shelter, please call 211. You will need to speak with the person you're calling for to obtain their consent and spend a few minutes with them while 211 confirms a ride is on the way.

Multnomah County offers mental health crisis resources, at any hour, for anyone experiencing a crisis. Mental health clinicians can provide direct phone assistance to individuals experiencing a mental-health crisis including: escalated symptoms of agitation, anxiety, depression, psychosis, dangerous to self or others, substance use, etc. Call (503) 988-4888 or visit the Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Intervention website for more information.


During severe winter weather, the collection of garbage, recycling and compost roll carts may be postponed for Portland's single-family homes and smallplexes up to 4 units. Portland's franchised garbage and recycling companies will prioritize curbside collection in the following order: 1) garbage, 2) recycling, 3) compost.  If there's snow or ice accumulation on collection day, please leave roll carts at the curb—your carts will be emptied when it is safe to do so. Garbage and recycling companies will make every effort to empty roll carts before the customer's next scheduled collection day. Visit to sign up for email reminders and service alerts.


The Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program teams are conducting welfare checks, assisting folks with any trash that needs to be removed, distributing clear plastic bags so people can keep their property dry, and distributing hand warmers. Posting and campsite cleanups have been suspended, and people experiencing homelessness are being urged to seek shelter.


Portland Parks & Recreation will post any cancellations or other changes due to weather on the bureau’s Inclement Weather page,


The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) is currently in “enhanced operations” and is actively monitoring the weather situation. PBEM is ready to activate Portland’s Emergency Coordination Center this weekend if necessary to support the weather response.


The Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications is encouraging the public to call 911 if they see anyone unsheltered whose life appears to be in danger, is in an apparent medical crisis, or does not seem dressed for the weather conditions.


Environmental Services operates the City of Portland’s Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant 24/7 year-round, regardless of weather. Staff are gearing up to manage additional volumes when the snow comes, and especially when it melts, and gets funneled through the City’s combined sewer and stormwater pipes for treatment. 


Portland Water crews are on standby to respond to water mains that can burst in cold weather. If you see water running from streets or sidewalks, please call our 24-hour Emergency Line at 503-823-4874. It’s also important that you take steps to protect your home plumbing from the freezing temperatures. Get information on how to safeguard your home plumbing and what to do if pipes freeze by visiting the Portland Water winter prep website at

The cold weather has prompted the City to turn off the Benson Bubbler drinking fountains due to the cold and wind. When the two elements combine, they can create a hazardous icy patch around the bubblers. Three Bubblers will be left on for use by those depending on them as a drinking water source. A list of the active Bubblers is available at the website


PBOT's Maintenance Operations has gone into Incident Command System (ICS) mode. We are treating all anti-icing routes. We are watching the forecast and will adjust our response accordingly, including plowing and salting city streets. 

PBOT advises the public to be aware of forecasts, use caution, delay your travel to avoid traveling during forecast snow or ice. Consider public transit, and check and for service alerts before you go. 

Property owners, tenants, and businesses 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. 

  • 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. People driving should carry snow chains and an emergency kit. 
  • Create an emergency plan with your family or work colleagues that emphasizes telecommuting, public transit, and emergency meeting locations for your Monday morning commute. Check our Winter Weather Center to see the priority snow and ice routes nearest you. 
  • 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 to look up any address in Portland and find the approximate elevation. 

PBOT works to keep vital transit lines and emergency routes open in winter weather. These priority snow and ice routes are the most critical for our city’s police and fire stations, hospitals, schools, frequent bus routes, the downtown core, and major business districts -- about a third of our entire street grid. PBOT’s mission is to provide at least one passable lane in each direction on these priority routes so that vehicles with front-wheel drive or traction devices can get through. In a major snowfall, it can take our crews up to 12 hours to cover these priority routes once.  

Please give PBOT crews time and space to do their work in winter weather. Our crews drive equipment in low visibility and extreme weather. DO NOT cut in front of them or try and pass them at any time. Even if they are going slow, you will find the road much clearer and safer behind a snowplow than in front! 

Don’t assume you know what their job is. Our crews perform multiple jobs with their trucks, not just plowing. If you see a truck with its plow up, they may be travelling between points on their route, refueling, responding to an emergency or otherwise doing tasks to keep the city moving during winter weather. Watch PBOT’s video about safety around snowplows here:  

  • 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. 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. Any vehicle creating a safety hazard is subject to citation, tow, and impound. The cost of a citation and tow for abandoned vehicles preventing free passage (blocking a travel lane) is $201. Additional costs to store a towed vehicle longer than four hours is $27 per day.



Portland Fire & Rescue’s Emergency Operations Division is ready to respond to emergencies with the expectation that road conditions will be hazardous. Fire engines and trucks are equipped with traction devices and will be constantly monitoring road conditions in their response areas. Firefighters are also being asked to monitor their response areas for individuals vulnerable to the expected severe weather and coordinate transport for those individuals to a shelter. PF&R will also have community outreach teams who are ready to respond help with finding these vulnerable individuals and will be used at the discretion of the Bureau of Emergency management. 

We are asking the public to join us. If you see people out on the streets or in a park or anywhere that needs help let us know use the non-emergency line, use 211, use 911. If they look like they are not prepared for the coming weather let us know. If the threat looks immediate, call 911. This could be a matter of life or death. 


Portland Police Officers will be out responding to 911 calls, which may include individuals needing transport to shelters, crashes, and road closures as well as emergencies. We are asking drivers to be aware of and obey all road closures. PPB will continue working with City partners to coordinate responses to the inclement weather in the coming days.  


The City of Portland is committed to providing meaningful access. To request translation, interpretation, modifications, accommodations, or other auxiliary aids or services, contact 503-823-1125, Relay: 711.

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