02-27-2024  1:39 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 23 December 2022

At least 795 people sought warmth at five severe weather shelters Thursday night, where Multnomah County, City of Portland and their service provider partners provided meals, behavioral health and medical support.

The 24/7 warming sites will remain open until Saturday morning, Dec. 24. No one will be turned away. The locations are: 

  • Reynolds High School, 1698 SW Cherry Park Rd., Troutdale, OR 97060
  • Portsmouth Union: 4775 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR 97203,
  • Arbor Lodge: 1952 N. Lombard St., Portland, OR 97217
  • Sunrise Center: 18901 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97233
  • Oregon Convention Center, 960 NE 1st Ave. Portland, OR 97232 

For transportation, people should call 2-1-1 or ride TriMet to a warm space. TriMet will not turn away anyone traveling to or from a warm place who cannot afford to pay fare.  Plan extra time and check trimet.org/alerts before traveling, as there may be weather-related delays to service.

All sites welcome pets and will be accessible to people with disabilities. 

More expected to seek shelter 

The National Weather Service calls for temperatures to remain below freezing until late Friday night, with Gresham, Troutdale and other eastern parts of the County the last to begin warming. Temperatures will gradually improve overnight into Saturday but not before the Portland metro area will be pelted with more freezing rain Friday afternoon and strong wind gusts.

The County and City of Portland have been under a state of emergency since Dec. 21 that will remain in effect at least until Dec. 24.

Outreach teams, through the Joint Office of Homeless Services, have worked through the severe weather distributing cold-weather survival gear and information about severe weather shelters.

More than 220 outreach workers contacted people outside since Wednesday across all 37 identified zones in the County, offering information on shelters and transportation. The outreach continues today despite hazardous conditions.

Hospital capacity limited as Crisis Standards of Care still in effect

Emergency medical calls reached 360 between midnight Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, an increase over what is typical, the Multnomah County Health Department reports. Cold-related calls were also up. A typical winter day also brings one to two calls for hypothermia. There were seven to nine emergency calls for people experiencing hypothermia every day since Wednesday.  The Oregon State Medical Examiner has no reports of suspected hypothermia deaths in Multnomah County.

Hospitals in the Portland metro area, including Kaiser Permanente, Legacy Health, OHSU Health and Providence, are operating under staffing crisis standards of care in response to the high volume of adult and pediatric patients with respiratory viruses — including COVID, influenza and RSV — in addition to the care they provide every day.

People are urged to stay safe by limiting travel, and always dressing for life-threatening weather if they go outside, as any delay in their plans could potentially be dangerous.

Hospitals also request that people with electricity-dependent medical needs make a plan now in the event of a power outage, including visiting libraries or shelters if open and try to avoid using the emergency room or calling 911 unless absolutely necessary.

Support People Living Outside

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

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. 

Stay Informed and Check on Neighbors

Emergency managers and the Multnomah County Health Officer are advising all 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 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.

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