Plus, City Council hears arguements for and against a tall building, and PBOT offers discount on bike and transit passes.

Portland transportation officials credited the use of salt for minimizing driving problems during last week's snowstorms.

According to the officials, salt was used to melt snow and ice on several major streets, including West Burnside and Skyline Boulevard.

The Oregon Department of Transportation also used salt on known trouble spots, including the Sylvan Pass on U.S. Highway 26.

The city and state have been reluctant to use salt in the past because of potential environmental problems. But they began experimenting with it during last year's series of severe storms and were encouraged enough by the results to expand its use last week.

City and county crews used transitional deicer on most roads, however. They also credit several other factors with reducing gridlock compared to last year, including drivers paying more attention to weather warnings.

Council hears tall building arguments

The City Council heard arguments for and against the construction of a 17-story, mixed-use building at 1650 N.W. Naito Parkway last Wednesday.

Supporters said the proposed Fremont Apartments project meets city density goals while opponents said it would block scenic views and interfere with the Willamette Greenway along the river.

The council made no decision on the Pearl District Neighborhood Association's appeal of the Design Commission's approval of the design. It will take up the issue again March 7.

The controversy is just one example of how Portlanders are split over proposals to increase density to accommodate the additional people expected to live here in coming years.

Discount bike, transit passes for sale

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced Wednesday that people who live or work in the Northwest Parking District can now purchase a Transportation Wallet that includes three transportation passes for only $99.

The passes are good for $100 deposited on a TriMet Hop Card, an annual Biketown bike rental membership, or an annual Portland Streetcar Pass.

According to PBOT, the total value is $684. A portion of the parking permit fees that Northwest Portland residents and employees pay go to provide Transportation Wallet's discount. You can purchase one at:

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