Portland officers checking in on people living outside during bi - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland officers checking in on people living outside during bitter cold temperatures

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There may not be any snow on the ground, but temperatures have turned to a bitter cold at night.

Some officers with the Portland Police Bureau had a chance Monday night to check on the city’s houseless, and make sure people knew where they could get warm.

FOX 12 did a ride-along with Officer Brian Loftus who said it was the first organized check-up this season.

“We’re ‘one’ in the Portland community, so we need to look out for each other. So if you’re driving around and somebody looks like they might need some assistance, it’s OK to call," he said. 

Loftus says they don’t always have time for outreach. During last year’s winter, he said people were more willing to ask for help than they have been this season.

On Monday night, officers set out to let people know there are resources available. An officer will even give someone a ride to the nearest warming shelter.

“I already got a call that somebody had a campfire, an open-flame campfire, out there so they’re clearly trying to stay warm. So we’re gonna go up and see if we can contact them,” Loftus said.

Loftus checked in with several houseless people, and handed out simple supplies like hand sanitizer.

“Sometimes they just don’t understand. They don’t have access to the information. We can put it all out there, but if they’re not looking at 211 or if they’re not looking at the press releases, then they won’t know where to go,” he said.

Loftus checked in with AJ Allen, who said he was the one with the camp fire earlier in the night.

“Cause you were trying to stay warm?” Loftus asked Allen. “Yeah,” Allen said.

Allen said he normally sleeps under a bridge nearby and, ultimately, Allen chose to do the same Monday night.

Anyone seeking shelter should contact 211info, reached by dialing 2-1-1. Information from 211info will be available to identify shelter and warming center resources 24-7. Additionally, shelter information is available at 211info.org and by texting "pdxshelter" to 898211.

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