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The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has divided the state into five transportation regions. Each region is responsible for maintaining the highways within its boundaries and managing construction projects in its area. The regions are broadly based upon geographical areas and counties. Oregon might be thought of as a flag with three roughly shaped but approximately equal vertical “stripes.” Regions 1, 2, and 3 make up the first (western) stripe, which is bordered on the east by the Cascade Mountain Range and extends west to the Oregon coast. Region 4 forms the second, or middle, stripe, and Region 5 is the third (eastern) stripe, Regions 4 and 5 lie east of the Cascade Range.
Many counties are divided between two different regions. The Oregon Department of Transportation Region Map and the Oregon Physical Map illustrate the relationship between the counties, the Cascade Range, and the highway regions, as well as the state’s major highways.
The day-to-day maintenance of Oregon’s highways is directed by the Office of Maintenance and Operations, which oversees the work of 14 maintenance districts. A particular maintenance district might comprise 2 or more counties or transportation regions. In addition, Oregon has advisory bodies known as Area Commissions on Transportation that work with ODOT in addressing all aspects of transportation.
Region 1, the Portland/Metro region, includes Multnomah, Clackamas, and eastern Washington counties, and most of Hood River County. Portland is situated in Multnomah County, Oregon’s largest county by population (estimated at 759,256 in 2012) and smallest by land area. The Columbia River forms Region 1’s northern border. Interstate 5, Oregon’s major north/south highway, passes through Portland shortly after crossing the Columbia River from Washington State.
Region 2 includes the Willamette Valley and the Oregon coast from the state’s northwest tip to the southern border of Lane County (just south of the city of Florence). In addition to Lane County, Region 2 comprises Linn, Benton, Lincoln, Polk, Yamhill, Tillamook counties, most of Tillamook and Clatsop counties, and parts of Clakamas, Douglas, Washington and Klamath counties.
Region 3, known as the Southwest Region is an area of mountains and forests, where much of the land is managed by the federal government. It includes Coos, Curry, Josephine, and Douglas counties, as well as most of Jackson County, and small portions of Lane County, which lies to the north in Region 2, and Klamath County, which lies to the east in Region 4. Northern California forms the southern border of Region 3.
Region 4, the Central Oregon region, comprises all or parts of fourteen different counties that form the interior of the state. These counties are (in rough order from north to south) Morrow, Hood River, Sherman, Gillian, Wasco, Jefferson, Wheeler, Grant, Crook, Deshutes, Harney, Lake, Klamath, and Jackson Counties. Region 4’s eastern border is formed by the Cascade Mountain Range, which runs from Canada, through Oregon and Washington, into Northern California.Eastern Oregon region is bordered by Region 4 on the west, Idaho and the Snake River to the east, Washington State to the north, and Nevada on the south. While the climate in Eastern Oregon is much drier than Western Oregon, winter snowfall in this region is significant and driving can be dangerous.