Slushy snow, salt spreaders hit the roads in Portland


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Winter weather rolled into the Willamette Valley on Tuesday, ushering in cold air and some snow for some areas, including the Portland metro.

A few inches fell on the hills of McMinnville while the Marion, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties collected the most accumulation. Most areas below 500 feet around Portland saw less than an inch before melting away.

Higher elevations like the Sylvan area saw steady snowfall for a few afternoon hours. Snow accumulated along SW Skyline Boulevard, making conditions slick and slowing commutes. Some drivers along West Burnside needed an extra push as some vehicles struggled to find traction.

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Plows and trucks with the Oregon Department of Transportation roamed through the Sylvan, West Hills and Skyline areas to keep roadways safe.

“Make sure to give them room, it’s better for everyone as we can clear the roads as soon as we can. There is going to be plows out there, maybe some salt, too, all our weather tools are in plan today,” said Don Hamilton with ODOT.

Despite its reputation for causing traffic meltdowns in the Portland area, many people welcomed the snow as it spread a thin white blanket over the hills. Local resident Matthew Fadden told KOIN 6 News he was “shocked” by the wintry weather and would be driving slow on his way home.

“I love the snow, it’s nice even though it’s a rare thing,” he said. “It’s nice to be in a place that snows sometimes.”

The Portland Bureau of Transportation was also working hard throughout the day, with salt spreaders focusing on areas of higher elevations. But PBOT plows didn’t get to see much action. Dylan Rivera with PBOT said the snow quickly melted into slush once it reached the ground and didn’t need plowing, even in places above 500 feet. Rivera said the lack of accumulation may have been due to the salt PBOT spread on West Burnside a couple of nights ago.

A Winter Weather Advisory remained in effect across the greater Portland and Vancouver metro areas through Wednesday morning and freezing temperatures were expected to linger in some areas west of I-5 and along the coastal range overnight. Icy roads could be a concern Wednesday morning and drivers should plan for delays or stay home.

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