PORTLAND, Ore. — With sub-freezing temperatures in the Portland metro area this week, several winter weather shelters have been open in Multnomah County since Christmas. On Thursday morning, the city and county said it will close their severe winter weather shelters at 2 p.m.
Anyone looking for other shelter options or social and health services should call 211. The county will provide information about future severe weather shelter sites at multco.us/cold or by calling 211.
"While severe weather thresholds are not anticipated to be met [Thursday night], cold temperatures are expected to continue," the county said in a news release. "The Joint Office of Homeless Services together with Multnomah County and the City of Portland, will continue to monitor conditions and be prepared to reopen shelters should severe weather thresholds be met in coming days."
The city and county opened five winter weather shelters on Christmas Day. They opened a sixth shelter on Dec. 26 on Southeast Market Street. All were open 24 hours. Washington and Clackamas counties also opened winter weather shelters. TriMet offered free fares for anyone traveling to a center.
Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan volunteered at the shelter at the Portland Building on Monday, Dec. 27.
"We don’t want to turn anyone away, we want to save lives," he said. "I learned a lot and I appreciated all the volunteers who showed up when needed."
Ryan emphasized the need for more volunteers to staff the shelters.
Ben Combs also volunteered at the Portland Building on Dec. 27. He said he answered a call from his church.
"We're a community, we all all pitch in something," Combs said.
Tips to stay safe and warm
Multnomah County offers the following tips on how to stay safe and warm in frigid temperatures:
- Avoid cotton clothes that trap moisture
- Dress in loose layers, which trap in the heat
- Wear an outer layer of water-resistant clothes
- Stay out of the wind when you get cold and wet
- Avoid alcohol, which causes blood vessels to expand, resulting in more rapid heat loss from the skin’s surface
- Take it easy if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. Follow your doctor’s advice about performing hard work in the cold
- If someone is shivering uncontrollably, or suffering confusion, slurred speech or drowsiness after prolonged exposure to cold, call 9-1-1 and then get them warm and dry
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