Local, state offices, highways close due to ice storm

About 40 trucks were stopped at Exit 193 on Interstate 84 Wednesday morning after freezing rain shut down the freeway.

Wednesday’s icy conditions have prompted a slew of closures and delays across Umatilla and Morrow counties.

Interstate 84 remained closed at noon between Ontario exit 159 west of Boardman due to area-wide freezing rain, snow, high winds and zero visibility in some areas between Baker City and Portland.

The Oregon Department of Transportation encouraged westbound travelers in Idaho to stay off the interstate, which is also closed through the Columbia Gorge between Troutdale and Hood River. There are no remaining safe truck parking areas in Ontario and hotels are nearly full.

Interstate 82 is also closed between I-84 and Umatilla at the Washington border, as are many other Eastern Oregon highways.

ODOT also advised travelers that alternate routes are not recommended as severe weather and road conditions are wide-spread, and based on the weather forecast and current conditions, this is anticipated to be a long term closure.

All non-emergency Umatilla County offices are closed for the day, including state courts. State agency offices are also closed today in Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Hood River counties.

The Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles is shutting down offices throughout the Columbia River Gorge, including: Enterprise, Heppner, Hermiston, Hood River, La Grande, Milton-Freewater, Pendleton and The Dalles.

The Morrow County Board of Commissioners meeting, which was scheduled for 9 a.m. in Boardman, has also been pushed back to 10 a.m. Commissioners and staff will be meeting at the Port of Morrow Riverfront Center, but will establish a phone bridge to the Bartholomew Building upper conference room in Heppner for those who cannot make the trip.

For more information on travel conditions, visit www.tripcheck.com.

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