Realizing the extreme variances in the harshness of winters in eastern Oregon, Union County’s Snow Removal Policy shall be based on a series of priorities.

  • The first consideration shall be safety of the citizens of Union County.
  • Second is the maintenance of bus routes for public schools.
  • Third is maintaining other arterial roads.
  • And finally, the opening of all county roads. Opening all county roads may take three to five days once a weather event has concluded.

Financial constraints make it impossible for the county to maintain enough equipment to meet the above priority list in severe winters. When this occurs, it shall be the policy of Union County to maintain these priorities starting from the first and working down the list as resources permit.

Due to weather variables, the time required to clear snow and ice from roads will vary. Union County Public Works may not plow / sand roads at the same time each day or, on occasion, even the same day as the storm depending on the following conditions; snow storm intensity, snow storm duration, temperature, time of day, traffic conditions.

To assist the local public school districts in their efforts to remain open during periods of extreme snowfall or windy conditions, it shall be the County’s policy that the Director of Public Works or his representative meet with the Superintendents of the Public Schools and work out a plan to help meet each school’s needs.

The following snow removal procedures will be adhered to whenever possible.

  1. District operators and other assigned personnel may begin at 6:00 a.m. to get school bus routes opened. During a major event the same personnel may be required to plow until the busses return at night, but not to exceed 6:00 p.m.
  2. Plowing and sanding will not be done on weekends unless the weather conditions are extreme.
  3. Hills and intersections will be sanded as needed but sanding of roads full length will not be done.
  4. Driveways and private roads will not be plowed except for emergency conditions.
  5. Mailboxes installed along roadways are at the risk of the owner. Mailboxes damaged from lack of owner maintenance, snow load from plowing, or vandalism are not the responsibility of Union County Public Works. Postal regulations,-require residents to clear snow in front of mailboxes to allow mail delivery.
  6. UCPW will not make special call outs to pull out vehicles stuck unless it constitutes an emergency. The vehicle may be towed at the owner’s expense if the vehicle is impairing safety. This will occur only if the owner cannot be reached and/or if the owner is unwilling to retrieve the vehicle.
  7. After hours, if a disabled vehicle is reported to 911/dispatch, the priority is to ensure the safety of the stranded individual(s). If the individual is not in danger, the vehicle will be addressed during business hours. When possible, dispatch will call and/or leave a message with UCPW with vehicle location and owner information.
  8. For after-hours emergencies, 911/dispatch will assess the situation and contact the appropriate agency (Ambulance/Quick Response Team, Emergency Services, Search and Rescue). UCPW will be contacted by dispatch when assistance is required.


The process of notifications may include:

  1. Maintaining contact with Union County Dispatch Center, Emergency Services and Public Works.
  2. Emergency Services may support Public Works when requested by assisting with press releases and/or updates to the media and the public including social media messaging.
  3. During rare and extreme circumstances, Union County’s emergency notification system may be utilized.
  4. Methods of public communication may include any of the following or any combination of the following depending on the situation: radio, social media, newspaper, county website, posting of notices at key locations, direct notification to affected citizens, or emergency notification system.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is the responsible agency for issuing all weather related warnings. NWS utilizes a variety of platforms to notify the public. Union County may notify the public of hazardous driving conditions, visibility concerns, road closures or other travel related issues, as conditions warrant. Notifications are intended to increase the public’s awareness and highlight safety concerns.