With freezing temperatures and the chance of snow in the forecast, the City of Portland and Multnomah County made a joint decision to open four severe weather shelters Wednesday at 8 p.m.
Additionally, the City and County will provide navigation and transportation to warm daytime locations Thursday, as temperatures are expected to remain cold.
County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler both declared states of emergencies effective Wednesday in preparation for the severe weather.
Starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, Multnomah County, the City of Portland and their service providers will open four severe weather shelters with a combined capacity of nearly 500 beds:
- Arbor Lodge, 7440 N. Denver Ave., Portland (corner of N. Lombard and N. Denver)
- Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N. Foss Ave., Portland
- Salvation Army Moore Street Gymnasium, 5325 N. Williams Ave., Portland
- East Portland Community Center, 740 S.E. 106th Ave., Portland
No one will be turned away. All sites will welcome pets and be accessible to people with disabilities. Free transportation to warming shelters and warm daytime locations be available by calling 2-1-1.
County and City employees, along with Do Good Multnomah and Cultivate Initiatives, will staff the four overnight severe weather shelters.
The four shelters will open at 8 p.m. Wednesday and close at 10 a.m. Thursday. Shelters will reopen on subsequent nights as required by conditions; decisions by the City and County will be made daily.
Cold weather forecast tonight and rest of week
Temperatures overnight Wednesday are expected to drop as low as 22 degrees, with the possibility of some snow in the Portland metro area. Cold weather will continue during the day Thursday.
Overnight temperatures are expected to remain cold overnight Thursday and Friday. Final decisions about overnight shelter openings will occur each morning, though preparations are in place to reopen shelters with the ability to expand capacity as needed.
Transportation, navigation provided for daytime warming locations
Because cold and damp weather will continue Thursday during the day, shelter employees, 211, TriMet and other partners will provide navigation and transportation to warm daytime locations.
Starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday through noon Saturday, people in need can ride TriMet to warming shelters or any other warming space. TriMet will not turn away anyone traveling to or from a warm place who cannot afford to pay fare during the state of emergency.
Multnomah County Library will open two locations at 9 a.m. Thursday, one hour early:
Gresham Library, 385 N.W. Miller Ave., Gresham
Hollywood Library, 4040 N.E. Tillamook St., Portland
All other library branches will be open normal hours with the exception of Holgate and Midland libraries, which are closed for construction.
An up-to-date, interactive map of warm shelters and daytime locations can be found here. For the latest information on overnight and daytime spaces, and street outreach efforts, go to multco.us/cold.
Joint Office offers ongoing shelter and outreach
Warming shelters are not the only shelters available in Multnomah County during severe weather. The Joint Office of Homeless Services operates dozens of 24/7 shelters year-round for people experiencing homelessness. During cold weather, some of those shelters open overflow beds for contracted outreach workers who need a warm place to refer vulnerable people they encounter.
Throughout the winter months, outreach workers also distribute lifesaving cold-weather supplies to people who are unsheltered.
In preparation for this severe weather event, the Joint Office increased coordinated street outreach. Starting earlier this week, providers and mutual aid groups have been finding neighbors without shelter and bringing them gear and supplies. Outreach workers will also directly distribute shelter maps and information on accessing shelter starting Wednesday.
County, City officials jointly determine response
Multnomah County and City of Portland officials — in consultation with Emergency Management, the Health Department, County Human Services, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and National Weather Service experts — jointly determine whether to open severe weather shelters.
Severe weather shelters open as needed when any of the following thresholds are met for any one of the conditions below that are forecasted to persist for four (4) hours or more between the hours of 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.:
Forecasted temperature of 25° F or below
Forecasted snow accumulation of 1 inch or more over a 24-hour period.
Forecasted temperature at or below 32° F (0° C) with 1 inch or more of rain and with sustained winds greater than 10 mph overnight.
Even when the County and City’s shared severe weather thresholds aren’t met — but when overnight temperatures are forecast at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, for roughly four hours or longer — the Joint Office issues a “cold weather alert.”
Beyond expanded outreach to deliver cold-weather gear, providers share information on resources and system shelter capacity. Overflow shelter capacity is made available to outreach workers, who can refer people in need.
Support people living outside
If you see someone about whom you are concerned during cold weather, such as an individual who is not dressed warmly enough for the weather conditions, call the City of Portland’s non-emergency response line at 503-823-3333 and request a welfare check.
If someone outside is unsheltered and their life appears to be in danger, call 9-1-1.
Winter weather is especially dangerous for anyone experiencing houselessness, and can also pose a greater risk for older adults and people with disabilities.
Stay informed and check on neighbors
Emergency managers and the Multnomah County Health Officer are advising all community members to get ready. Check on your neighbors: Please knock on the door, make the call, let people know if you’re going to the store, and ask how you might help.
Care for When It’s Cold: Up-to-date information from Multnomah County on shelters, safety and support.
211info.org: Up-to-date info on weather conditions, available resources, where to find the nearest available shelter and transportation options. You can also find out where you can donate winter weather items to those who need them. Sign up for Severe Winter Weather alerts via email or text by going to 211info’s sign-up page.
National Weather Service: Check weather warnings in the Portland Metro area.
Public Alerts: Sign up to get emergency alerts about safety concerns in your area.
TriMet Alerts: Check for winter weather advisories.
ODOT TripCheck: The Oregon Department of Transportation TripCheck site updates Oregon road conditions and streams live roadside video.
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