Given the amount of rain Portland sees each year (average rainfall is 36.69 inches), you’d be forgiven in thinking that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would have a plan in place for when more solid stuff falls from the skies (think: snow).

For years, ODOT refused to use salt to clear roads in any circumstance, pointing to potential damage to the environment as the reason to avoid putting down the slippery-reducing substance (despite the environmental damage inevitably caused from dozens of car accidents leaking oil, transmission fluid, gasoline, and a number of other chemicals).

The catastrophes resulting from little to no snow removal have nearly made Portland a national punchline for its residents’ inability to handle the winter weather. Just check out this YouTube video made of some of the insane driving from the Great Snowstorm of 2007.

Well, that’s now changed. Sort of.


ODOT announced that they will now leave the option open to use salt on Portland-area freeways to clear snow only it if “they really have to” once again pointing to environmental concern as the reason to avoid it.

In the meantime, ODOT will continue to use salt to clear the rest of Oregon, ensuring that while most of Oregon will remain snow-free, Portland will continue with its “Keep Portland Weird (with horrible winter drivers)” reputation intact.

Do you have any wacky snow stories from Portland? Share ’em in the comments!

Source: State OKs use of salt on Oregon freeways — just not in Portland