Portland winter plan: More plows, more salt

Portland is taking new steps to be ready for winter

A snow plow moves through the streets of Portland, January 13, 2017 (KOIN)
A snow plow moves through the streets of Portland, January 13, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced on Tuesday new steps the city is taking to be ready for the upcoming winter — which includes adding salt.

The city’s new procedures for snow and ice events were revealed and the Portland Bureau of Transportation shared winter planning documents, including the bureau’s Winter Weather Salt Plan.

“Roads were impacted, schools were closed, the storms had negative impacts on business and it cost lives,” Wheeler said.

PBOT said they have 300 tons of salt on hand with another 1,300 available if needed. They’re hoping to learn their lesson from last year and have added more equipment and more drivers for snow plows.

Saltzman said, “We tested salt successfully on a limited basis early this year, but we want to do it so more widely and more consistently this year.”

Last winter, salt was brought in from Seattle — it was the first time Portland had ever used it.

Among key steps the city will take this winter are:

• Expanded use of road salt.
• New equipment and more drivers.
• Agreements with contractors.
• Chain requirements.
• Helping schools and businesses with expanded anti-icing.

The priority streets are:

• West Burnside Avenue
• Sam Jackson Park Road
• Terwilliger Blvd
• Skyline Blvd
• Germantown Road
• SE 112th and Mt Scott Blvd
• N Going

PBOT is also reminding drivers to be winter-ready, which includes getting snow tires and having water in your car in case you get stuck.

Last week, the city sent snow plow drivers on an obstacle course and through planned routes to practice for possible snow and ice events this winter.

Last winter brought an unusually high number of snow days, causing the city to create new plans to deal with another potentially difficult winter.