Day and night warming centers in Multnomah County will remain open through Monday night, as severe winter weather transitions to rain on Monday and Tuesday. An estimated 723 people stayed overnight in warming centers on Saturday night, the most of any night this winter.
Warming center operators plan to distribute tarps and blankets to clients when centers close on Tuesday morning. Donations of tarps and rain gear are needed. For information about what and where to donate, please visit the 211 website http://211info.org/donations. For a list of shelter hours and locations, call 211 or visit 211info.org/emergency/#multnomah.
City and county leaders encourage homeless people to seek shelter through Monday night and ask the public to watch out for those most vulnerable. A Home For Everyone staff monitor weather conditions and opens emergency warming centers when needed.
At the current low temperatures there is increased risk of exposure-related injuries for unsheltered homeless people who do not have sufficient gear, such as coats, hats, gloves, footwear, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets. Four deaths in the county over the last month have been attributed to hypothermia, as many as in the previous five years.
Warming Shelters: Day and night warming centers are open in Portland and Gresham. Anyone seeking shelter in Multnomah County should call 211 or visit 211info.org/emergency/#multnomah to identify the closest available shelter and transportation options. Calls are answered at any hour and in over 150 languages. People can sign up for emails or texts on the website to receive updates about warming center locations. Severe weather centers accommodate individuals and couples, pets and belongings, and do not require identification or any other documentation. 211 has information on who is served at each shelter. Families with children seeking shelter should call 211 to be directed to a shelter that can accommodate children.
Persons in Need of Assistance: If you see someone outside unsheltered whose life appears to be in danger or is in an apparent medical crisis, call 911. Otherwise, if you see someone about whom you are concerned, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call police non-emergency (503) 823-3333 and request a welfare check for that person. To assist someone in locating shelter and transportation to shelter, please call 211.
Public Buildings: People seeking to get warm, especially during daytime hours, are encouraged to utilize public buildings that are open. The Multnomah County East Building on 600 NE 8th St in Gresham and the Portland Building on 1120 SW 5th Ave., will serve as severe weather warming centers. County libraries are open on Sunday, but closed on Monday, due to the public holiday. Call or check public websites before seeking shelter at public buildings like community centers to confirm they are open. Daytime warming shelters are open. Check 211info.org for a list of available daytime warming centers.
Hypothermia, carbon monoxide and dangers of cold: Frigid temperatures can pose safety and health risks for anyone, particularly those who are most vulnerable like young children, older adults or people who remain outdoors for long periods of time. During this cold weather, check on friends, relatives or neighbors who live alone. Learn about the signs of conditions like hypothermia, which can mimic symptoms of impairment from drugs and alcohol.
Read more about symptoms of hypothermia and dangers of cold including carbon monoxide hazards and important information on the use of alternative sources of heat at multco.us/multnomah-county/news/dangers-cold.
Multnomah County offers mental health crisis resources, at any hour, for anyone experiencing a crisis. Mental health clinicians can provide direct phone assistance to individuals experiencing a mental-health crisis including: escalated symptoms of agitation, anxiety, depression, psychosis, dangerous to self or others, substance use, etc. Call 503-988-4888 or visit the Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Intervention website for more information.
CONTACT: Communications Coordinator, Mike Pullen, Multnomah County, 503-209-4111, firstname.lastname@example.org