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Snow Zones

Get ready for snowy weather by knowing where traction devices may be required.
Snow Zone 175th Ave. - Thumbnail image

175th Avenue:  Between Scholls Ferry and Rigert roads

Snow Zone Barnes Rd. - Thumbnail image

Barnes Road: 118th Avenue to the County line

Snow Zone Cornell Rd. - Thumbnail image

Cornell Road: Cedar Hills Blvd. to the County line

Three areas in Washington County are 'snow zones' – where traction devices are required in inclement weather. Signs say, 'When Flashing Chains or Snow Tires Required.' We turn on the flashing lights during periods of inclement weather to alert motorists.

The snow zones are on:

  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.

We require traction devices in these areas to improve safety and limit crashes. These devices also help cut down on the number of abandoned vehicles, allowing us to plow and sand roads more quickly.

Traction Devices

Image of a car tire with chains on; traction device

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

Studded Tires - Traction Device image

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

Mountain snowflake tires - traction device image

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

Winter tires - traction device image

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

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

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

When snow zones are active, in addition to the flashing lights, we will post information on, our website, Twitter and Facebook.


Snow zone violations are normally treated as a "secondary offense," meaning citations are issued when law enforcement sees travelers disobeying other traffic laws or driving unsafely. Travelers involved in crashes, or who own abandoned vehicles without traction devices, could also receive citations. The citations carry fines of up to $880, plus towing costs.


Some vehicles are exempt from the traction devices requirement under ORS 815.145.

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