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Portland, Multnomah County declare state of emergency ahead of expected week of snow, cold temperatures

At a Thursday press conference, city and county officials outlined plans to open multiple warming shelters starting Saturday.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland and Multnomah County have both preemptively declared states of emergency ahead of an expected week of severe winter weather in the metro area. Both declarations will take effect Friday.

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan announced the measures at a press conference on Thursday. Portland's will remain in effect through Dec. 31 with as-needed extensions, and the county's will run through Jan. 3.

The forecast, as of Thursday, calls for multiple chances of snow showers over the holiday weekend and throughout next week, with sustained sub-freezing temperatures and the potential for multiple inches of snow accumulation at the Willamette Valley floor.

Kafoury and Ryan were joined by Joint Office of Homeless Services Director Marc Jolin and Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines to discuss preparations, including plans to open five warming shelters across Portland.

RELATED: There's a chance of valley snow this holiday weekend and again next week. Here's what to expect

The planned shelter locations are:

  • Sunrise Center, 18901 E Burnside Ave.
  • Salvation Army, 5325 N Williams Ave.
  • Portland Building, 1120 SW 5th Ave.
  • Mt. Scott Community Center, 5530 SE 72nd Ave.
  • East Portland Community Center, 740 SE 106th Ave.

All five shelters will open at 3 p.m. Saturday and remain open 24 hours a day throughout the cold snap. The shelters are open to all people and their pets, Jolin said.

People seeking shelter can find more information at multco.us/cold or by calling 211. TriMet rides will be free for people heading to shelters, Kafoury said, and people can also dial 211 to schedule transportation to a shelter if needed.

RELATED: Gov. Kate Brown declares state of emergency, urges Oregonians to prepare for snow

The winter weather will be arriving almost exactly six months after a record-breaking heat wave cooked the Portland region in late June, Vines noted. In both cases, people living outside are at the greatest risk. 

Other weather announcements

Hours after Portland and Multnomah County's announcement, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Thursday to free up state resources ahead of the anticipated snow. It will remain in effect through Jan. 3. 

Washington County announced 24-hour shelters at the Salvation Army Building at 1440 SE 21st Ave. in Hillsboro and the Beaverton Community Center at 12350 SW 5th St. in Beaverton, and Clackamas County said it would open shelters and list them at clackamas.us/relief.

Portland General Electric sent out a press release on Thursday urging residents to prepare for possible power outages by making sure they have flashlights, batteries and a 72-hour supply of water and ready-to-eat food.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced Thursday that it had canceled planned vacation time for hundreds of employees, setting itself up for 24-hour operations over the holiday weekend and early next week.

RELATED: Cascades Winter Storm Warning today, weekend snow coming to the valley

Hillsboro announced in a Thursday press release that its public works department has readied snow plows and anti-icing solutions, but cautioned that it will need to prioritize clearing main roads and won't be able to treat or plow residential streets.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management issued a press release on Thursday urging Oregonians to prepare for 7-10 days of winter weather by updating their emergency kits and keeping an eye on weather reports when assessing travel plans.

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