Errors in judgement due to misinformation or a lack of knowledge about road conditions can lead to very dangerous situations. Please! Know that the Forest Service Road 39 is closed for winter and not open nor safe for winter travel, other than by snowmobile. Talk to locals and never trust GPS when on roads you are unfamiliar with. Thankfully, the young man in the linked article was rescued by the Baker County sheriff. The outcome could have been very different. This road is paved, and easy to travel during the summer and fall but not groomed during winter and fills with deep snow once the snow flies. It likely will not open again until Memorial Day weekend or later. This is a mountain pass!
Whether traveling the backroads or on freeways in winter, it is important to slow down and always carry warm coats, boots, gloves, blankets, food, water and a flashlight. From whichever direction you travel to reach or pass through northeast Oregon, you will be going over mountain passes. Storms can come any time and roads may be closed due to blowing and drifting snow or icy conditions. Be prepared to safely wait it out in your vehicle if needed. Here is a link to safety tips for winter driving from the Oregon Department of Transportation, covering all kinds of conditions. Look for a full list of recommended emergency supplies and travel safely.
Keep an eye on www.tripcheck.com to view road cameras and learn about driving alerts.