Updated 9:38 a.m., Feb. 15, 2024
Severe weather shelters will close as of 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, after a one-night-only activation. They will not reopen tonight.
Temperatures will not reach the severe weather thresholds that Multnomah County officials use — in consultation with Emergency Management, Health Department, County Human Services, Joint Office of Homeless Services and National Weather Service experts — to decide on shelter plans.
The Joint Office, however, will continue its coordinated outreach protocols through at least Thursday, Feb. 15, supplying contracted outreach teams, volunteer groups and mutual aid groups with winter gear that will be distributed throughout Multnomah County.
To access other daytime warming spaces today, including Multnomah County Library branches, please see this interactive map.
If you are concerned about someone you see during colder conditions, such as someone not dressed safely for the weather conditions, call the non-emergency response line at 503-823-3333 and request a welfare check.
If someone’s life appears to be in danger, call 9-1-1 for medical attention.
Support people living outside
In addition to the severe-weather beds that open only when certain weather thresholds are met, the Joint Office of Homeless Services also funds and supports more than 2,000 year-round and winter shelter beds open every night during the cold season. These beds are open day after day, no matter the forecast. Other community partners also add winter shelter capacity.
Outreach teams — including those from Transition Projects, JOIN, Janus Youth, Cascadia Behavioral Health and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office HOPE team — are also in the community, making contact with vulnerable populations, providing resources and sharing information about severe weather and year-round shelters.
The Joint Office has accelerated distribution of cold weather supplies since the end of October.
Many organizations providing aid to people experiencing homelessness also partner with community volunteers to offer their services.
211info also has a winter-focused donations site.
Severe Weather Planning
County staff monitor weather conditions and other factors, including temperature fluctuations, precipitation, windchill and emergency department visits for hypothermia. Once forecasts show the potential for thresholds to be met, officials meet daily to discuss those weather conditions — consulting with Emergency Management, Health Department, County Human Services and Joint Office experts — and then jointly decide on shelter plans as needed.
The basic thresholds the County uses were first developed and used by the City of Portland, before the Joint Office of Homeless Services was created, when the City served as the lead agency providing severe weather shelter for adults experiencing homelessness.
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 (-4° C) or below.
- Forecasted snow accumulation of 1.0 inch or more.
- Forecasted temperature at or below 32° F (0° C) with driving rain of 1.0 inch or more overnight.
- **The County's Chief Operating Officer or their designee may consider other conditions or circumstances during a severe weather event that could increase the risk to the community and activate elements included in this standard operating procedure.
Cold weather alerts
Even when severe weather thresholds aren't met — but when overnight temperatures are forecast at 32 degrees or below, for roughly four hours or longer — the Joint Office will issue a "cold weather alert."
The County does not activate its response to open severe weather beds at additional warming shelters during a cold weather alert. But providers will conduct additional and focused outreach to find vulnerable people, and they will have the ability to quickly obtain and distribute cold weather gear. Providers will step up coordination around information on resources and system shelter capacity. Overflow shelter capacity will be made available to outreach workers, who can refer people in need.
The Joint Office of Homeless Services also funds and supports more than 2,000 shelter beds open every night during the cold season. These beds are open daily, no matter the forecast. Other community partners also add winter shelter capacity.