Metro area shelters offer warm welcome during cold snap

Multnomah County declares state of emergency for temperatures below freezing
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 11:54 AM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A state of emergency was declared for Multnomah County on Saturday as temperatures began to plummet, and TriMet again announced that they will wave fares for anyone traveling to a warming shelter.

Between 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, TriMet says all you need to do is tell the operator you’re traveling to a warm place and you’ll be welcomed aboard.

Tim, a TriMet passenger on Saturday, said he knows a lot of people in need of shelter.

“This is that time of year,” Tim said. “It’s after the holidays, and we’re looking into February. It’s cold. It’s bitter. People’s hearts could be warmer.”

SEE ALSO: Chance of snow showers Saturday evening, but sticking unlikely

Washington County said shelters will open at the following locations at 2 p.m. Saturday:

  • The Salvation Army Building, 1440 SE 21st Ave, Hillsboro
  • Beaverton Community Center, 12350 SW 5th St, Beaverton
  • Shelters remain open 24 hours throughout the severe weather event. Hot meals are provided for guests, no one will be turned away, and pets are okay (be prepared to work with shelter staff as locations individual pet policies may vary).

Multnomah County and the city of Portland will open the following shelters at 8 p.m. Sunday:

  • Arbor Lodge, 1952 N Lombard St., Portland
  • The Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave., Portland
  • Salvation Army Moore Street Gymnasium, 5325 N Williams Ave., Portland
  • Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N Foss Ave., Portland
  • East Portland Community Center, 740 SE 106th Ave., Portland
  • The shelters will be open until 8 a.m. on Monday. All sites will welcome pets and be accessible to people with disabilities. Free transportation to warming shelters will be available by calling 2-1-1.

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The five shelters on Sunday increase capacity to about 400 emergency beds. More than 220 people came to the shelters on Saturday night. The county and city will make a determination daily on if the shelters will remain open.

Clackamas County has three overnight shelters open:

  • Father’s Heart Street Ministry, 603 12th St., Oregon City. Service pets (on leash or in carriers) are accepted. Open until 9 a.m. Monday.
  • Molalla Hope Center, 209 Kennel Ave., Molalla. Dogs and other small pets in carriers are welcome, but check with the staff. Hot drinks available. Dinner is served around 7 p.m. Open until 8 a.m. Monday.
  • Zoar Lutheran Church Extreme Weather Shelter, 190 SW Third Ave., Canby. Dinner will be at about 5 to 6 p.m. There may be other activities at the church from 6 to 8 p.m.  Dogs on leash and other small pets in carriers are welcome, but check with the staff. Open until 7 a.m. Tuesday.

More information on shelters can be found here.

Jason Meyer with Just Compassion and working at the Beaverton Community Center shelter, said giving someone a bed and a warm meal can be life changing.

“It means everything,” Meyer said. “It really does. There are times when these people come in and they’ve got nothing. They’ve got nowhere to go.”

Meyer said the Beaverton shelter usually only sleeps 30, but due to the cold weather they’ve doubled that, which makes him happy, he said. It means he won’t have to turn down as many people.

“You want to help people, and give them a place to feel warm and be comfortable,” Meyer said and smiled. “Some days we can’t always provide that for everyone.”

Meyer said he has a connection to what some of these people are going through because he’s also recovering from a substance addiction.

“I know where that road of addiction goes,” he said.

He said he has seen firsthand what offering someone a bed on a cold night can mean to a person.

“There’s tears,” he said. “There are hugs. There’s something to be said about helping other people in their lives. Whether they’re in recovery or just needing a place to be, that pulls me through my own recovery.”

SEE ALSO: PSU continues feeding students in need of help with free food pantry

Multnomah County shelters open when one of the following conditions are met:

  • Forecasted temperature of 25 degrees or colder
  • Forecasted snow accumulation of 1 inch or more over a 24-hour period
  • Forecasted temperature at or below 32 degrees with 1 inch or more of rain and with sustained winds greater than 10-miles-per-hour overnight
  • Call 211 to get a ride to one of the shelters free of charge.

Julia Comnes, Multnomah County’s Communications Coordinator, said anyone with concerns about a person’s safety in winter conditions should call the city’s non-emergency response line at 503-823-3333 and request a welfare check.

“If you see someone about whom you are concerned during cold weather, such as an individual who is not dressed warmly enough for the weather conditions,” Comnes said. “If someone outside is unsheltered and their life appears to be in danger, call 911.”