Portland roads began icing over following historic snowstorm

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 10:13 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore (KPTV) - Snowy, wintry weather caught many Portlanders off guard over the last couple of days, especially on the roadways.

With no way to navigate the treacherous terrain, many people had no choice but to abandon their cars throughout the metro area.

The stacks of stranded vehicles led to road closures throughout the city. Nici Gillyard was forced to park her car a half mile from OHSU and walk to the hospital with her girlfriend who was awaiting surgery.

“Of course, that got pushed back as some of the doctors couldn’t make it in. There was an ambulance stuck, and there were guys getting out of their cars to push cars out of the way.”

Like many others who had to wait patiently, doctors were no exception, as road closures riddled the downtown area.

“It has been chaos and pandemonium,” Gillyard said. “Seeing all the schools closing, businesses closing, seeing people try and find out where family members are.”

Many streets are closed to car traffic, a FOX 12 crew walked down several of them to see why.

Down the roadways, the FOX 12 crew observed delivery vehicles that were forced to abandon their routes. They saw cars and trucks that had drifted off the road and were barely hanging on to cliffsides.

The crew reports seeing handfuls of tow-away notices and broken windows, where it is unclear whether the shattered glass occurred when the driver lost control of their vehicle or after the fact.

Meanwhile, Gillyard says she’s from the south and has only seen this kind of thing once before.

“The south never prepares for snowstorms because we don’t get them,” she said, “--but here it seems like it came out of nowhere and no one was ready for it.”

She hopes the mess gets cleared up soon and that everyone is alright.

You can find a link to current road closures here.

As temperatures dropped Friday night, roadways began icing over.

ODOT encourages travelers to be mindful of closures and beware of stranded vehicles:

“ODOT crews are continuing to treat roads and respond to incidents across Northwest Oregon. Roads may be icy as snow and slush freeze again Friday night into Saturday. Avoid travel until conditions improve. If you must travel, be prepared for winter driving conditions and have supplies to be ready for delays. Slow down and watch for stranded vehicles and Move Over for emergency responders. Check TripCheck.com or call 5-1-1 before you travel for the latest road conditions.”