Severe weather shelters remain open Saturday; plan to close Sunday as forecast improves

January 1, 2022

Severe weather shelters will remain open during the day and overnight Saturday, Jan. 1 with plans to close at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, Jan. 2.

People seeking shelter can dial 2-1-1 for the latest information on shelter locations and if they need transportation to a shelter. TriMet will offer fare-free transportation for people who need to get to a warming shelter. 

Volunteers work at the Salvation Army warming shelter, Dec, 2021 (Stephanie Yao Long, City of Portland)

For updates and future severe weather shelter sites, please continue to check back at multco.us/cold, or call 2-1-1.The forecast calls for freezing temperatures through Saturday with warmer temperatures expected Sunday. 

“There is a lot of volatility in the forecast. It’s going to be extremely cold today. Libraries and other public buildings are closed. We really thought it was important to stay open during the day today,” said Joint Office of Homeless Services Director Marc Jolin. “We anticipate this is the last night and will be closing in the morning, but we will continue to monitor the weather and support enhanced outreach throughout community partners.”

Last night four shelters — operated by Multnomah County, the City of Portland, Transition Projects and Cultivate Initiatives — hosted 254 people; that was about 50 percent of total capacity.

Shelters continue to need volunteers to support guests during overnight and early morning shifts, especially at the Oregon Convention Center, Mt. Scott Community Center and East Portland Community Center.

Volunteers already signed up to volunteer Sunday for the late morning and early afternoon shifts are asked to come and help with demobilization. 

“We have been at this for a week now and the extended period has created its own challenges, especially over a holiday. I want to thank people for their heart and dedication to the community and their compassion,” said Jenny Carver, emergency manager for Multnomah County’s Department of County Human Services. “I would just ask if people feel like they have a little more to give, we could still use help keeping these places safe and comfortable today and overnight.”

In addition to the severe-weather beds that open only when certain weather thresholds are met, the Joint Office of Homeless Services also funds more than 300 additional 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.

Anyone interested in accessing shelter should contact 2-1-1.

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.