April 12: Multnomah County, Portland will open overnight warming shelters as historic springtime blast of cold weather continues

April 12, 2022

Snow and downed trees in Multnomah County on April 11, 2022.
With forecasts showing rain and a significant chance of snow overnight, and a likely chance of near- or sub-freezing temperatures in parts of the County, Multnomah County, the City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, and their service provider partners, will open severe weather shelters from 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, 2022, to 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 13. No one will be turned away.

Amid reports that a significant number of unsheltered neighbors lost critical gear during the unexpected snowstorm Sunday night and Monday morning, severe weather shelters will prioritize resupplying guests with critical cold weather supplies, including sleeping bags, handwarmers, boots and socks.

At the same time, the Joint Office will also continue its crisis street outreach efforts, working with mutual aid groups and its contracted outreach providers to provide gear and information about the opening of severe weather shelters.

The current National Weather Service forecast is calling for potentially significant rain and/or snow, along with low temperatures that could dip below freezing in some parts of the County. 

This historically anomalous weather event – marking the first time Portland has had measurable snow in the month of April – comes after the end of our region’s traditional severe winter weather season. Typically in the spring, partners in this work are beginning to plan ahead for their summer heat responses.

Mayor Ted Wheeler and Chair Deborah Kafoury are both declaring a weather state of emergency Tuesday, April 12. The government agencies that work together to support severe weather shelters make a daily determination of whether shelters will open, using the most up-to-date forecast from the National Weather Service.

Check back at multco.us/cold for the latest hours, locations and updates as conditions change.

Warming Shelters and Transportation

The Joint Office of Homeless Services operates shelters year-round for people experiencing homelessness. There are more shelter beds – congregate beds, motel rooms and sleeping pods – funded now than before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Beyond those year-round and seasonal beds, partners open additional warming shelters and mobilize additional outreach workers and gear distribution on nights when severe weather hits.

The Joint Office, County and City, along with Transition Projects and Cultivate Initiatives, will open severe weather shelters Tuesday night with total capacity for 180 people.

All sites are accessible to people with disabilities. Pets are allowed at all locations:

Anyone seeking shelter can dial 2-1-1 for information on shelters and to request transportation to a shelter.

TriMet will not turn away anyone traveling to and from warming shelters who cannot afford to pay fare, between 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, through 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 13. Please let the TriMet operator know you’re going to or from a shelter.

Support People Living Outside

If you see someone about whom you are concerned during cold weather, such as an individual who is not dressed for the weather conditions, call the 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

Our emergency managers and Multnomah County Health Officer are advising 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 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 it. Sign up for Severe Winter Weather alerts via email or text by going to www.211info.org/em-shelters#multnomah

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.

Oregon Roads: The Oregon Department of Transportation TripCheck site updates road conditions and streams live roadside video.