Snow Zones

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Between Scholls Ferry
and Rigert roads
118th Avenue
to the County line
Cedar Hills Blvd.
to the County line


Three areas in Washington County have been designated as "snow zones" – indicating areas where traction devices are required in inclement weather. The signs read "When Flashing Chains or Snow Tires Required." They are equipped with a solar-powered flashing light. LUT staff will turn on the flashing lights during periods of inclement weather to alert motorists.

The snow zones are:

  1. 175th Avenue, between Scholls Ferry and Rigert roads
  2. Barnes Road, 118th Avenue east to the County line, adjacent to a city of Portland snow zone.
  3. Cornell Road, Cedar Hills Boulevard east to the County line

These areas have high elevations and steep grades. During icy and snowy weather conditions, vehicles without traction devices are more likely to be involved in crashes or have difficulty driving on slick surfaces. One vehicle can easily turn into multiple crashes when vehicles are not equipped for winter-weather travel.

Requiring traction devices in these areas is expected to improve safety by reducing the number of traffic accidents. Traction devices can also reduce the number of vehicles stranded on shoulders and in the right-of way, which will allow for more efficient plowing and sanding of these roads.

Snow zones are identified by signs in accordance with ODOT sign standards.

The snow zone inclement weather messaging will also be posted on, the wc-roads Twitter and Facebook channels and the Washington County website.


Snow zone violations are a "secondary offense," meaning that citations will be issued when law enforcement observes motorists disobeying other traffic laws or driving unsafely. Motorists involved in crashes or who own abandoned vehicles without traction devices could also receive citations. The citations carry fines of up to $160.


There are some vehicles that are exempt from the traction tires or chains requirement under Oregon state law (ORS 815.145). Review the exemptions information.

Traction devices

What are chains?

What are chains?

Chains are traction devices fitted to vehicles' tires to help provide maximum grip.

What are traction tires?

What are studded tires?

Studded tires contain studs, made of a rigid material, that provide traction during winter weather conditions. Some versions have retractable studs.

Mountain Snowflake tires

What are "Mountain Snowflake" tires?

Mountain Snowflake tires are all-season tires approved for use in the snow. They have sidewall marks with a mountain snowflake symbol.

Winter Tires

What are winter tires?

Winter tires are designed for ice and snow. The tread has bigger gaps to provide traction in inclement weather.

What are "tire socks?"

"Tire socks" are made of a specially designed fabric that provides traction during winter weather conditions.

Need more on traction devices?

Visit ODOT's TripCheck Minimum Chain Requirements webpage to learn more.