Bend-area agencies update snow removal, other efforts

Red Cross could open Bend, La Pine shelters

BEND, Ore. - As the sun broke out Wednesday over Bend's snowy landscape, city, Deschutes County and other agency officials updated their joint communication with the public about efforts to cope with the snowiest period in recent area history.

Snow Accumulations:

The Central Oregon area has been impacted by significant snowfall since the beginning of December. Records from the National Weather Service show Central Oregon received its first snow December 6. Substantial amounts of snow have fallen throughout the region. The National Weather Service has provided accumulations for Bend (approximately 50”) and Sunriver (approximately 52”). Normally we see periods of warmer weather to melt the snow between storms. The cold weather has prevented snow melt, which has caused the snow to accumulate.

City of Bend Streets and Operations

City crews cleared all arterials and collectors overnight. As of about 10 a.m. today, Wednesday, the residential street contractors reported being about 40 percent done. It will take more than a day to finish all residential streets.

The Streets Department cannot accommodate each individual request that is made at their offices for clearing particular streets. The Streets Department cannot give time estimates on when plows will arrive in specific neighborhoods.

Our goal is to ensure streets are cleared, but when that will happen is dependent on numerous factors in the operation. Please expect significant delays, especially in neighborhoods. We appreciate your patience.

The city’s Snow and Ice Control Plan is designed to provide cost effective maintenance for the 850 miles of public roadways that we maintain. Per our Plan, Streets are divided into major arterials and collectors, plus streets that service schools medical facilities and major employment centers. These are our priority areas.

During the snowfall event, streets are typically opened with one pass through initially, so as to make it just passable for drivers. As weather conditions change, we often alter our snow-clearing strategies in the midst of the snow removal operations to control drifting snow and ice or address other special emergency situations. Plow drivers often end up making multiple passes in order to clear a path on a street.

The downtown parking garage is waiving nighttime parking restrictions this week and will allow overnight parking to get cars off the streets to help plows clean up downtown and improve parking. Parked cars can stay in the garage until 11 a.m. before they risk an overtime citation.

Red Cross:

The Red Cross has not opened a shelter at this time but is ready to do so if needed. If the situation dictates, they have secured shelter opportunities in Bend and La Pine. The Bend shelter would be located at the Bend Senior Center, 1600 SE Reed Market Road. The La Pine shelter would be located at the Calvary Chapel, located at 16430 Third Street.

The most efficient way to contact the Red Cross at this moment is through 211. If the situation dictates, Red Cross Corporate will designate a 1-800 number. As of now this number has not been created as we are in a pre-emptive position.

Deschutes County Roads

If you have questions about snow plowing and removal in rural Deschutes County, please call the Deschutes County Road Department at 541-388-6581. As a reminder, many rural residents live on Local Access Roads that are not maintained or plowed by the Deschutes County Road Department.

Cascades East Transit

Bend Fixed Routes are on snow schedule today. All routes leave Hawthorne Station on the hour with the exception of Route 12, which leaves OSU-Cascades 25 minutes after every hour. Several Community Connector routes are running behind schedule today. Please call 541-385-8680 with questions or visit and check the service alerts section. Sign up for text alerts on your cell phone to receive notifications about snow schedules and delays by texting "CET" to 313131.

Bend-La Pine Schools

Bend-La Pine Schools are closed today. Evening events and activities are also canceled.

Bend Parks and Recreation District

Bend Park and Recreation District opened recreation facilities today at 9 a.m. and encourages community members to check updates at for the latest information about classes and programs.

From Tuesday's update:

We know roofs are being loaded, but there is a risk to climbing on your roof to remove snow, too. So, how do you know whether to remove snow? Here's what we've learned:

Structures built in Bend with building permits are designed to handle 25 pounds per square foot, which equates to about 20 inches of snow. Older structures, built before the adoption of building codes in Bend (late 1960's), may not meet this minimum standard. Manufactured homes are designed to carry 30 pounds per square foot, or about 2 feet of snow. Flat roofs are more of a concern, because they tend to hold more snow moisture.

Rainfall on top of snow can add a significant amount of weight to a roof rapidly. If the snow continues to pile up over 20-25 inches on your house, consider removing it from the roof.

It is very dangerous to climb on the roof in snow conditions, please either use a snow rake from the ground or contact a licensed professional, such as an arborist or a roofing contractor to access the roof. Pay attention to where the snow will land if you choose to use a snow rake, and watch out for falling icicles.

Fire hydrants

The Bend Fire Department is asking for residents to shovel the snow out from around fire hydrants. We understand you may not know where the hydrant is in your neighborhood. There is a fire hydrant locations map on the page.

Gas appliance flues (or vents)

If you have a gas-fired water heater, check your roof to make sure the vent pipe, or flue, protrudes above the snow and is not blocked.


When the city is plowing these significant record levels of snow, the snow may end up as a berm across a driveway, or covering a sidewalk or a fire hydrant. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.

A snow removal tip from the Streets Department:

If you want to clear your driveway/curb/sidewalk/mailbox or other area before the snowplows have come thru, clear an area on both sides of your driveway and out in the right-of way (about three or four feet creating a large pocket in front of your home) and pile snow onto your yard, not out in the street. This may reduce the possibility of getting a huge pile of snow in your driveway when snowplows clear your street. The more snow you clear from these areas, the less will be deposited at your driveway entrance.

Sidewalk clearing is the responsibility of residents and businesses.


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