Three areas in Washington County have been designated as "snow zones" –areas where motorists are required by law to have tire chains or traction tires on or in vehicles when traveling on the designated portions of roads during periods of severe weather.
The snow zones are:
- 175th Avenue, between Scholls Ferry and Rigert roads
- Barnes Road, 118th Avenue east to the County line, adjacent to a city of Portland snow zone.
- 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 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.
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.