Update 12/31, 1:30 pm:
Four emergency weather shelters will reopen Friday at 7 pm, Multnomah County officials announced Friday morning.
The county originally shuttered the shelters Thursday as temperatures in Portland stayed above freezing all day. Freezing temperatures in the low 20s are expected Friday night, triggering the reopening of shelters.
The Oregon Convention Center, East Portland Community Center, Mt. Scott Community Center, and Reynolds High School will open at 7 pm. The four shelters have a total capacity of 435 beds. On Wednesday night—the most recent night shelters were open—about 550 people stayed in the county’s emergency shelters.
The most up to date information about the emergency shelters, including addresses and connecting bus routes, can be found on the county’s cold weather site or by calling 2-1-1, the county’s information line.
Original story, 12/30:
All seven emergency weather shelters in the Portland area will close at 2 pm Thursday, Multnomah County officials announced Thursday morning.
Temperatures Thursday no longer meet the county’s emergency shelter criteria of freezing or below freezing temperatures for four hours or more, county spokesperson Kate Yeiser said. However, with possible freezing temperatures predicted in the coming days, the county may reactivate the emergency shelters later in the week.
All guests leaving the shelters will be provided with TriMet bus passes and cold-weather supplies like hand warmers, sleeping bags, and gloves.
Multnomah County and the City of Portland declared a state of emergency on December 23 as Portland braced for several days of below-freezing temperatures. The county originally opened five emergency shelter locations on Christmas Day, most of which filled to three-quarters full or full capacity, prompting the county to add two more shelters and relocate one shelter in east Multnomah County to a larger building. As of Tuesday, nearly 800 people had used the shelters over the past four days.
One Multnomah County resident died during the cold snap due to hypothermia, or extreme cold. According to the Oregonian, Portlander Henry Steele died on Christmas Day after getting lost on his way home from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Southwest Portland. Steele, who had dementia, died outside while temperatures were in the mid-30s.
The county will continue to monitor the weather conditions and asked that shelter volunteers who had shifts planned for this weekend remain on standby in case the shelters need to be reactivated. Yeiser said that if the temperatures drop low enough to trigger a reopening of shelters, the county will likely make an announcement the morning the day shelters reopen. Temperatures in Portland are expected to drop to 28 degrees Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.
The county is still encouraging people to sign up as volunteers for potential shelter re-openings. The most up to date information on shelters can be found on the county's cold weather website or by calling 2-1-1, the county's information line. A list of open shelters in Portland can be found here.