EOC Weather Related
Happy Valley works with partners across all levels of government, private sectors, non-profit organizations and our community for the safety of our citizen’s.
For non-urgent, weather-related issues, please call police non-emergency dispatch at 503-655-8211. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The safety of our citizens is our top priority. When severely cold weather is coming, remember to take steps to prepare. Please also check on your elderly or disabled neighbors, and take caution when using portable heating devices like space heaters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Predicting the weather isn’t easy. The City closely monitors various forecast models to ensure we are as prepared as possible. Typically, in advance of freezing temperatures, the City spreads a chemical deicer called magnesium chloride to major streets and intersections. If you’ve ever seen the straight lines of liquid on the roads before a storm, that’s where magnesium chloride has been applied. It can be applied in advance of a storm; however, it washes away if rain falls before the freezing temperatures arrive. With an approximate cost of $1,200 per deicing trip, the City does its best to apply it when needed.
During a winter storm event, the Public Works and Public Safety team typically operates on a 24/7 schedule with four snow plow trucks. When the snow accumulation gets above a couple inches, crews will begin to plow and sand on high priority routes.
Each storm is unique, hitting us at different times of the day, bringing multiple types of precipitation, and lasting for a varied timeframe. Despite the differences, our crews approach each event in a similar way, prioritizing road safety for travelers and emergency response teams first.
As with the rest of Oregon, Happy Valley doesn’t use salt. Historically, salt hasn’t been used in Oregon for a variety of factors including the impact it has on the environment and corrosion to vehicles. In addition, while salt isn’t expensive to buy, it can be costly to store and requires different equipment than most Oregon agencies have on-hand. The Oregon Department of Transportation is currently experimenting with applying salt in more locations and the City will monitor the progress of that study.
Typically, in advance of freezing temperatures, the City spreads a chemical deicer called magnesium chloride to major streets and intersections. If you’ve ever seen the straight lines of liquid on the roads before a storm, that’s where magnesium chloride has been applied. It can be applied in advance of a storm; however, it washes away if rain falls before the freezing temperatures arrive. With an approximate cost of $1,200 per de-icing trip, the City does its best to apply it when needed.
We understand that everyone would like neighborhood streets plowed. The City has evaluated traffic patterns and worked with emergency responders, schools, and utility companies to prioritize the care of major roads first. Once those roads are addressed, crews can expand service to other roads in Happy Valley, but with 136 lane miles of roads that are maintained by the City of Happy Valley, there is still a challenge to balance resources with needs.
While we fully understand that the feeling of being “trapped” at home can be an uncomfortable one, we encourage residents to take a step back when determining their need to leave their home during a winter storm.
To view the priority level for each street, view the snow removal procedures here.
It’s okay to leave your car. To prevent it being towed, pull your vehicle off to the side of the road and return as soon as you are safety able to do so. Cars not off to the side or on the shoulder may be towed to keep the roads clear and safe. It’s important to note, however, that plows may block in cars left on the street.
The City does not have a bare pavement policy and motorists still may need to install chains or use traction tires. Our four snow plow trucks are constantly working on the roadways. The process of peeling off one layer of snow/ice is slow. Unlike highways, city streets have countless manholes, storm drains, and plastic reflective lane markers. To avoid damaging the plow equipment and prevent harm to the manholes, storm drains, and lane markers, each snow plow has a rubber-tipped blade that often leaves a thin layer of ice or snow. As a result, motorists should closely monitor conditions and use chains or traction devices when needed.
Responding to inclement weather truly requires partnerships with other agencies. All the roads listed above are owned and maintained by Clackamas County. The City works closely with Clackamas County to ensure emergency routes are clear. If you have a concern about a County road, click here.
Snow and ice removal from sidewalks is the responsibility of property owners. The City’s Municipal Code requires property owners to clear the sidewalk within the first four hours of daylight after the snow had fallen. If it’s not possible to remove the snow or ice, sand should be used to provide traction.
Heavy snowfall and/or ice can add significant weight to trees and powerlines, causing them to abruptly break and fall. As a result, residents are encouraged to stay away from tree limbs and power lines, and allow any ice or snow to melt naturally. Residents are encouraged to move cars that may be parked beneath a tree prior to the onset of a storm to reduce potential damage should branches become frozen and break. If a tree is blocking a City road, please complete a weather related concern report. If a tree is blocking a County road, please contact Clackamas County at https://www.clackamas.us/transportation/roadconcern
If the tree is on private property, contact a local tree removal company.
If you see a downed powerline, stay far back and call PGE at 503-464-7777 or 800-544-1795. For more tips, click here.
All vehicles on public streets must be “road legal” complete with headlights, turn signals, license, registration, insurance, etc. Many ATVs do not meet these requirements and users run the risk of being ticketed.
We also ask that ATV users respect the park and not tear up the ground below. While it may be fun, repairing the damaged ground underneath the snow can be burdensome and costly to the tax payers.
Even though the storm has passed, the work continues. After the snow/ice melts, there is a lot of sand left on the roadways. The City of Happy Valley has an active street sweeping crew that goes around to pick up the sand left over following each storm. Unfortunately, the temperatures need to be above freezing before the street sweepers can operate. It requires wet conditions or water from the truck to prevent significant dust from causing visibility issues to other drivers. Once the sand is collected, it’s taken to a sorting facility where all the other material collected is removed. Without the sand being screened, the other items collected (nails, garbage, etc.) could cause significant damage to the sander.