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(Feb. 26, 2019) The National Weather Service has notified the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) of the potential for accumulating snow of a half inch to 2 inches in the Portland area late Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday morning commute hours. Temperatures may remain low for much of the morning on Wednesday, so snow that accumulates may linger.
There may be more accumulations in areas south and west of Portland, so everyone should check the elevation and weather conditions at your home, your destination and areas along your route before starting a trip. Conditions will likely vary across the metropolitan area, depending on elevation and proximity to colder winds from the Columbia River Gorge.
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 trimet.org/alertsand 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 snowy and icy conditions, PBOT strongly advises delaying travel if possible. If people must travel, PBOT recommends taking public transit.
While the forecast is still unclear, there are some simple things all Portlanders can do to prepare themselves for winter weather.
PBOT's Maintenance Operations plans to have extra crews working Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning to prepare. As of Wednesday morning, Maintenance Operations will go into Incident Command System (ICS) mode, working around the clock in 12-hour shifts. We are treating our anti-icing routes. We are watching the forecast and will adjust our response accordingly, including plowing and salting city streets.
PBOT works to keep vital public 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.
At this time forecasts are changing and variable. Please monitor the weather forecast for both your home, your travel destination and your route, as road conditions could vary throughout the city beginning Friday evening.
PBOT provides tips for winter travel for people walking, biking or driving. Learn more at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/snow
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.