Warming shelters reopening tonight; Multnomah County, City of Portland continue states of emergency

February 25, 2023

City of Portland and Multnomah County officials are reopening severe shelters overnight Feb. 25, 2023.
Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson declared another state of emergency effective through Monday, Feb. 27, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler extended the City's emergency declaration as the region braces for the possibility of more snow overnight Saturday.

Multnomah County, the City of Portland, and provider partners Do Good Multnomah and Cultivate Initiatives will open seven emergency warming shelters at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25: 

Cook Plaza, opening for the first time tonight, is replacing (with similar capacity) Imago Dei Church, which had been open starting overnight Thursday through Saturday morning.

No one who comes to a shelter will be turned away. All sites welcome pets and are accessible to people with disabilities.

Shelters were able to close for daytime operations Saturday with warmer temperatures expected during the day — and as roads improve and additional daytime warming options become available.

All Multnomah County Library branches are open during the day today, with the exception of Midland and Holgate libraries, which are closed for construction. Lloyd Center will also be available as a daytime warming center.

As shelters close this morning, the City and County are providing transportation and navigation to other warm locations during the day. 

People in need can call 211 for free transportation or 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. Check trimet.org/alerts before leaving to check routes.

Volunteers still needed at shelters

Volunteers are still needed to support City and County staff at severe weather shelters. Pictured is the shelter at the Salvation Army Moore Street Gym on Feb. 23, 2023.
City and County leaders continue to ask community members to volunteer to staff several of the shelters, calling that support essential to the City and County’s ability to continue providing warm spaces for hundreds of people during this historic winter storm.

Volunteers should sign up through the links below, and are encouraged to pick a location nearby to avoid transportation issues.

Our most pressing need is for people to commit to shifts tonight and early tomorrow morning, especially at our newest site at Cook Plaza, as well as Lloyd Center. Click on each link to find volunteer opportunities at that site:

Hundreds seek shelter Friday night

During what was expected to be the most frigid night yet during this week’s storm and cold snap, warming shelters welcomed a total of 849 guests, one of the busiest nights on record. More than 740 people received a ride to a shelter, through 211 and through City and County ground transportation. 

Stay informed and reach out a hand 

As of Saturday, Feb. 25, the Multnomah County Medical Examiner said there has been one suspected hypothermia death, on Feb. 22, reported during this weather incident.

Emergency medical or ambulance call volume can reach roughly 320 calls on a typical day this time of year. But call volume has risen during this storm and cold snap, exceeding over 400 daily calls. 

All types of calls have increased, ranging from low acuity calls to people slipping and falling to chest pain or shortness of breath. 

Winter weather is especially dangerous for anyone experiencing houselessness and can also pose a greater risk for older adults and people with disabilities.

Emergency managers and Multnomah County Health Officer stress: if you’re experiencing an emergency or see someone whose life is in danger, call 9-1-1. Anyone seeking shelter can dial 2-1-1 for information on shelters and to request transportation to a shelter. 

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.

Consider sharing information with neighbors, offering a helping hand, providing assistance with medications or perhaps providing a meal. Knock on doors, make the call, let people know you’re going to the store, and ask how you might help. 

“I want to thank everyone throughout the County who has checked in on neighbors, brought people into their homes who they know might not have the best heat or just stayed off the roads to allow emergency workers access,” said Interim Multnomah County Health Officer Dr. Ann Loeffler.

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 it. Sign up for Severe Winter Weather alerts via email or text by going to www.211info.org/winter-and-severe-weather-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.

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


Media contacts:

Denis Theriault, denis.theriault@multco.us

Julia Comnes, julia.comnes@multco.us

Sarah Dean, sarah.dean@multco.us