Gorge travel slow on roads covered in packed snow

Snow-covered I-84 - KATU image.

TROUTDALE, Ore. -- Interstate 84 is mostly clear through Portland on Sunday, but took a turn for the worse once you enter the Columbia River Gorge.

Starting at about Troutdale, the highway was covered in packed snow and slush. Dozens of drivers stopped on the side of the road to put on chains. Traffic moved slowly.

It took some drivers nearly an hour to get to Multnomah Falls from Portland.

"We were both surprised about the conditions of the roads, we thought maybe they'd be plowed a little better," said Jason McDaniel, who lives in Portland.

KATU News counted at least three vehicles that appeared to be abandoned off the side of the highway. One of them appeared to have skidded down an embankment.

Jared Crane stopped at Multnomah Falls to put on chains. He is driving from Olympia, Wash. to the Tri-Cities area.

"Through the gorge is the worst part we've come across," Crane said.

The falls were busy Sunday as visitors came to see them covered in snow. The parking lot was full for much of the day. Multnomah Falls Lodge, on the other hand, was closed.

"The freeway was still requiring traction devices," said Mark Davenport, General Manager at the lodge. "We just felt like it was a little too treacherous for our employees to travel on, so we were closed for today."

Multnomah Falls Lodge was closed Saturday, too. Davenport says he expects to be back open Monday morning.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has all available crews working right now, according to Peter Murphy, a department spokesperson.

Murphy told KATU crews were using deicer in the gorge on Sunday, taking advantage of a dry day. Moving forward, he told KATU they are prepared to shift more resources to the gorge if necessary.

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