Commence Panic

Worried About Icy Roads If It Snows In Portland? Us Too

Here's what you need to know to survive if it snows next week

By Julia Silverman January 12, 2020

A man skiing in downtown Portland following record snowfall, at the intersection of SW Salmon Street and SW Naito Parkway on January 11, 2017

Deep breaths, everyone. According to the website we'll be obsessively clicking on all next week because looking out the window is for suckers, it is not yet snowing in Portland, Oregon.  

However. In just a few days, the answer could well flip to Yes! Commence Panic! — or so say the people whose job it is to forecast that kind of thing.

Local transportation officials, meanwhile, are determined not to be caught flat-footed, should three-to-six inches of snow paralyze the entire region next week. This is otherwise known as learning from recent history — it's been just over 4 years since a midday snowstorm brought the city to a grinding halt, with schoolchildren stranded on buses or stuck at schools for hours on end, and commuters abandoning their cars in the middle of I-5 (seriously. This happened).

This time around, transportation officials plan to spend the weekend getting ready. Crews for the Portland Bureau of Transportation will be at work on Sunday to get the city's fleet of equipment (such as it is—we're not Minneapolis, for goodness sake) prepared for snow and ice. They have also, ever so politely, reminded the entire city via Twitter that abandoning your car in a travel lane is really not a thing—if you must do so, at least pull over to the shoulder or a parking spot.

TriMet is getting into the act, too, with helpful tips on how to make the best use of public transportation during any snow event. The Cliffs Note version is that the MAX is a better bet than buses, which may be delayed due to poor roads, and definitely will not attempt to stop on a hill (so plan on hoofing it to a flatter stop. Carefully, please.)

Or, you could just plan to stay home and hunker down. In which case, make sure you get to the supermarket this weekend to stock up on kale, before it's too late.



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