Snow melting but problems remain
Winter conditions in much of the Portland region improved Sunday, but transportation officials warned problems remain, especially in the higher elevations and those locations closer to the Columbia Gorge.
Only a light dusting of snow fell in parts of the region overnight. But plunging temperatures refroze the snow and ice that had been melting, creating hazardous driving conditions wherever there was much moisture.
Transportation officials urged people to be safe on the roads and warned them that any vehicles abandoned on the road will be towed. Those who absolutely must leave their homes should consider taking public transit.
Tim Becker with TriMet said transit operators are dealing with many different conditions depending on the area but MAX trains and buses are still running. Becker said trains ran through Saturday night to keep the overhead wires clear of ice and buses "are going to remain chained as long as conditions warrant."
Multnomah County said the extreme cold had caused gaps to open up on the north and south sidewalks of the Hawthorne Bridge, at the west end of the lift span. Steel and concrete shrink in extreme cold, which creates gaps. Although crews have covered and marked the gaps, sidewalk users on skateboards, scooters and bicycles should use caution when crossing the them.
By Sunday afternoon, Multnomah County officlals announced that Northeast 238th Drive had reopened between Arata Road and Glisan Street in Wood Village after being closed for more than a day due to ice on the steep hill.
A tow truck was also working to remove a stranded semi truck so that Corbett Hill Road in the Columbia River Gorge can reopen between Interstate 84 and Historic Columbia River Highway. But Southeast Troutdale Road was closed between Division and Powell by a stranded private truck.
Although snow in the city can spell disaster for commuters, but it's very welcome at Mount Hood Meadows. Dave Tragethon, the vice president of sales and marketing at Meadows, said the cold conditions are perfect for "some awesome powder skiing."
The slopes may be ideal but Tragethon reminded those looking to take advantage of the powder to be equipped with snow tires or chains and watch for patches of black ice on the drive up.
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