Smoke, dangerous air prompt Joint Office of Homeless Services to open extra shelter capacity, take other protective steps

September 10, 2020

PORTLAND (Sept. 10, 2020) — Because of dangerous air quality across the region, the City of Portland/Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services is opening additional shelter capacity starting tonight, Sept. 10, for people experiencing homelessness — among other measures to protect high-risk community members living outside.

Like during cold weather nights, outreach teams will be on high alert to find and assess community members without shelter who are the most vulnerable to adverse health effects. Outreach teams can work with those community members to refer them to shelter capacity, or offer other services as needed, and arrange transportation.

Community members seeking shelter for themselves, or for someone they know, should call 211 to see if there’s space available and to arrange transportation. Because of high demand, there may be a wait time for callers.

This additional shelter capacity will be available throughout the duration of this air event, and it will be open 24 hours, instead of overnight only.

The Joint Office has also received 40,000 additional KN95 masks at its downtown outreach supply distribution center, along with other supplies, for outreach workers to distribute in their work throughout the County.

As this emergency lingers, the Joint Office and its nonprofit service providers, along with its partners in the City of Portland and Multnomah County, will continue to assess shelter needs and adjust as necessary.

For the latest updates on the ongoing wildfire emergency and Multnomah County’s response, go to


Denis Theriault

Communications Coordinator

Joint Office of Homeless Services