Don & Debbe Morrow
Authors of “For the Long Haul, A State-to-State Guide for Professional Drivers”
What should a commercial driver expect “off the network” in Oregon? Answer: A lot. Oregon has more than its share of rules for drivers. And new drivers beware: Oregon is definitely a state where you need to take the time to do your homework BEFORE you go off the network.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has done a good job of providing information to drivers. Their Web site, www.odot.state.or.us, has links to pages where you can find answers to most of your questions.
If you do not have access to the Internet, the same information is available if you stop at the Port of Entry.
Plan ahead. You must obtain tax and registration credentials and the driver must possess the credentials prior to operating in Oregon. There is an option to proceed directly to a registration office, but hours vary, and if the registration office is closed and you do not have the proper credentials, you are subject to citation and up to a $421 fine.
Our suggestion is to call before you get into Oregon and have the proper credentials faxed to you. You can find more information on how to get the tax and registration credentials that you need by visiting the Web site listed above and clicking on Rail, Trucking and Freight. You may also call Salem Registration Services at (503) 378-6699. Tax and registration services are available in Salem by phone 24/7. The office is closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Before calling a registration office to obtain credentials, you will need to have the following information available:
- Carrier name or Oregon file number
- Vehicle registration (with base plate number and complete vehicle identification number)
- Lease documents (if applicable)
- Fax number where credential is to be sent (if not picking up in person)
- Acceptable forms of payment include Visa, MasterCard, guaranteed check or preapproved charging privileges.
Truck route maps? Really helpful
If you have Internet access, at www.odot.state.or.us/trucking/od/maps.htm you will find extremely helpful truck route maps.
Group Map 1: Related to maximum allowable lengths on Oregon highways when operating without a permit.
Group Map 2: Related to certain weight-restricted bridges (but not a complete list of weight-restricted bridges) and width and length limits.
Group Map 4: Related to Continuous Operation Variance Permits and County Road Authorities.
Route Map 5: Related to approved routes for triple trailer combinations.
Route Map 6: Related to approved routes for continuous movement of trailer coaches and modular buildings over 12 feet but not exceeding 14 feet in width.
Route Map 7: Related to maximum permitted lengths for doubles and truck tractor semi-trailer combinations.
Route Map 9: Related to authorized routes for loads over 12 feet wide, but not wider than 14 feet, when operating with an annual, continuous operation permit.
Attachment 100A: Listing revisions to the route maps since the maps were last printed.
We recommend Group Map 1, Route Map 7 and the Attachment 100A. We wouldn’t be off the network without them. You may have to add miles and time to stay on legal routes. The maps are available to download and print from the Web site, but they are hard to read when printed on 8 1/2-by-11 paper. These maps are also available at most of the Ports of Entry, but you must ask for them.
Oh, yeah ... the weather
Just as in any mountainous state, a driver can encounter extreme weather conditions in Oregon any time of the year. If you have Internet access, visiting www.tripcheck.com will give you links to Oregon’s chain laws, road cams and road and weather conditions. For road conditions, you may call (503) 588-2941 outside of Oregon or 1-800-977-6368 in the state. Some of the truck stops even have road cams (live video) available in their facilities.
Acceptable chains are: link chains, cable chains or another device that attaches to the wheel, vehicle or outside of the tire that is designed to augment traction. ODOT has the discretion to require the use of link chains only, rather than cable chains, when warranted.
Drivers are notified of the chain law status by signs along the roadway.
What to expect in Oregon
- Many scales leave the reader board on for a driver to use, even when the weigh station is closed.
- In adverse driving conditions, we have heard the State Patrol
- talking on the CB, advising drivers of road conditions ahead.
- Oregon issues fines for the improper disposal of human waste.
- It is considered hazmat. This means no yellow bottles disposed
- of improperly, please.
- Truck Safety Corridors are highways that have a high number of truck accidents. These areas are patrolled more often by officers who watch for poor driving habits.
- State law, no unmuffled engine brakes.
This is a great state and one of our favorite destinations. Take the time to understand what is expected of you off the network. Have a safe trip and enjoy the ride.