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4 common questions about Portland's use of salt during winter storms, answered

Everything you want to know about how — and when — Portland uses road salt.

PORTLAND, Ore. — If you're new to Portland, you may be surprised to learn salt was used for the first time on the roads in 2017.

It's back again this year, and ahead of a looming snow storm this week, here are some common questions about when and where salt will be used.

1. Where does the Portland Bureau of Transportation use road salt?

PBOT uses salt on roads most prone to closure during winter storms, including steep hills, hospital routes and downtown. PBOT has a live map where you can follow plows and see what roads have been pre-treated with anti-icing or salt. 

You can also sign up for the city's winter weather updates here.

RELATED: Be prepared when severe weather hits! Download the KGW app

2. When will salt be used on the roads?

This all depends on temperature and road conditions. PBOT says salt works well at 30 degrees, but can lose its effectiveness below 20 degrees.

3. What else does PBOT use to treat roads?

Sand, de-icer and plows. They will use 40,000 gallons of liquid magnesium chloride for de-icing this year, and 700 tons of road salt.

4. Who is responsible for clearing and salting sidewalks?

The property owner is fully responsible for clearing the sidewalks and driveways in front of their house. If someone falls or hurts themselves outside your house, you could be held liable.

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