Portland, Ore. — Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson has declared a state of emergency effective at 5 p.m. today, Jan. 12, due to forecasts indicating a prolonged period of freezing temperatures, dangerous wind chills, and the potential for snow.

To address the risks posed by the cold weather, Multnomah County employees and four contracted service provider partners will open five severe weather shelters and add severe weather beds at an existing all-year shelter, providing an additional 445 beds at least through tomorrow night, Jan. 13. No one seeking shelter will be turned away, and all sites will be pet-friendly and accessible to individuals with disabling conditions. Free transportation to warming shelters can be arranged by calling 2-1-1 or through TriMet.

The County’s “Care for When It’s Cold” site at multco.us/cold will provide information on shelter hours, locations, and updates as conditions change.

The six available shelter sites on Jan. 12 include:

  • Salvation Army: 5325 N. Williams Ave., Portland
  • Cook Plaza: 19421 S.E. Stark St., Gresham
  • Friendly House: 1737 N.W. 26th Ave., Portland
  • Ascension Catholic Church: 743 S.E. 76th Ave., Portland
  • Powell Shelter: 7332 S.E. Powell Blvd., Portland
  • Market Street Shelter: 120 S.E. Market St., Portland

Additionally, an overnight winter shelter at Portsmouth Union Church will switch to 24-hour operations, and the County’s Behavioral Health Resource Center is adding capacity.

TriMet will not turn away anyone traveling to or from a warm place who cannot afford to pay fare during the state of emergency. Multnomah County will issue daily announcements about continued severe weather operations for the duration of the emergency.

Severe weather operations began on Jan. 9, with outreach efforts expanding to people experiencing homelessness. Various supplies, including hand warming packs, hoodies, blankets, and more, have been distributed to those in need.

The Department of County Human Services has reached out to vulnerable clients, ensuring direct outreach, service connection with houseless community members, and contingency plans for potential power outages.

Multnomah County Transportation’s Road Maintenance Division will be in 24-hour operations starting noon Friday, Jan. 12, through 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, serving rural roads and some arterials.

Severe weather shelter beds will remain open on Jan. 13, with officials planning for additional nights based on conditions. The County’s “Care for When It’s Cold” webpage will have up-to-date information on open shelter sites.

People using TriMet to reach a warming shelter should check routes at trimet.org. Starting Jan. 14, TriMet’s Gateway Transit Center will be closed to train service, affecting MAX Blue, Green, and Red lines.

Multnomah County officials use specific thresholds, developed in consultation with various agencies, to determine when severe weather shelters should open. These thresholds include forecasted temperature, snow accumulation, and rain conditions. The Chief Operating Officer may consider additional conditions during a severe weather event.

Even when thresholds aren’t met, a “cold weather advisory” is issued for overnight temperatures at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, triggering expanded outreach and increased shelter capacity.

For concerns about individuals during cold weather, call the City of Portland’s non-emergency response line at 503-823-3333. If someone’s life appears to be in danger, call 9-1-1. Winter weather poses increased risks for those experiencing homelessness, older adults, and people with disabilities.