FAQ: Snow and ice removal on Washington County roads

How does Washington County prepare for winter weather conditions?

Our strategy includes mobilizing employees, equipment and other resources to minimize risks wintry road conditions pose to travelers, infrastructure and property. Approximately 426 miles of road are included in our snow plow and ice control routes.

snow plowWhat does Washington County do to mitigate snowy or icy road conditions? 

  • Anti-icing: May be applied to roads before weather events (or immediately after) to minimize slippery conditions. Anti-icer can only be applied in dry conditions.
  • Sanding: Applied to improve traction on slippery roads
  • Snow plowing: Deployed as needed to remove snow accumulation

Why are some roads snow plowed or sanded while others are not?

To make the best use of our limited resources, routes that provide access to critical facilities, emergency services and major corridors are considered priority for snow-an-ice removal. Neighborhood streets are not plowed except in extreme circumstances, and only higher priority routes are cleared.


How do travelers know which roads are priority routes for anti-icing, sanding or snow plowing?


Can snow plowing or sanding be requested for a specific road?

Yes, however: 

  • Priority routes are our main focus
  • Narrow neighborhood roads lined with parked cars are a challenge for our larger plows and sanders. Sand trucks spread material over wide areas and may damage parked cars and other property near the roadway.

To contact us:

To report a hazardous road condition outside of normal business hours, call the countywide nonemergency response number: 503-629-0111.

What if a road is still covered with snow or ice after sanding or plowing?

Even after treatment, compacted snow, ice or both may remain on roads. Travelers are always urged to travel with caution and use appropriate traction devices.


Does the County use road salt in winter weather conditions?

Like other Oregon road agencies, we have not traditionally used road salt to help melt ice and snow on roadways due to the cost and adverse impact to roads, cars and the environment. 


Does the County close roads due to hazardous winter weather conditions?

Specific roads are not usually closed or restricted for snowy or icy conditions alone. However, we may close or restrict roads blocked by downed trees or power lines, and to allow safe emergency response to incidents. Additionally, we may recommend, or even require, snow chains or tires for travel on specific roads.


How can travelers learn about conditions on a specific road?

Follow us on Twitter for road condition alerts. We also post alerts related to emergency road closures and restrictions on wc-roads.com.

For state highway conditions, visit TripCheck or sign up to receive tweets from ODOT for conditions on specific state highways. 



Snow plow routes 

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Ice control routes 

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Sandbag site icon 

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