Updated: 3:30 pm January 16

A weather-related state of emergency has been extended through Wednesday, January 17, as freezing rain is expected Tuesday afternoon, following days of sub-freezing temperatures.

The county medical examiner said Tuesday afternoon that two additional people have likely died of hypothermia, bringing the total to four suspected hypothermia death investigations since Friday.

The first weather-related death—a man who died in Northeast Portland—was reported Friday, January 12. Another death in North Portland was reported Saturday, with two additional suspected hypothermia deaths occurring Monday, January 15, in Portland's 97211 and 97214 ZIP codes. 

To make matters worse, the region's light rail system has been partially incapacitated since Saturday, with shuttle buses replacing train service. On Tuesday, TriMet announced the MAX Blue Line was restored, but the Orange, Green, Yellow and Red Lines were still not running, and relying instead on buses, with heavy delays and service interruptions. 

In light of the dangerous weather, Multnomah County closed all of its non-critical services, including courts and libraries, Tuesday. In addition, all Portland Public Schools sites were closed Tuesday and scheduled to stay closed Wednesday.

Multnomah County Board Chair Jessica Vega Pederson first declared an emergency at noon Friday, January 12, ahead of a predicted snow storm. Since then, the county opened 12 temporary warming shelters.

The following shelters will remain open Tuesday evening, January 16 through 8 am Wednesday morning, as the region braces for freezing rain and prolonged frigid temperatures at least through Wednesday. The latest shelter information can be found here.

Emergency shelter sites:

Salvation Army: 5325 N. Williams Ave., Portland, operated by Multnomah County

Friendly House: 1737 N.W. 26th Ave., Portland, operated by Do Good Multnomah 

Ascension Catholic Church: 743 S.E. 76th Ave., Portland, operated by Multnomah County 

Powell Shelter: 7332 S.E. Powell Blvd., Portland, operated by Transition Projects 

Market Street Shelter: 120 S.E. Market St., Portland, operated by All Good Northwest

Cook Plaza: 19421 S.E. Stark St., Gresham, operated by Cultivate Initiatives

Freedom Foursquare Church: 660 S.E. 160th Ave., operated by Multnomah County

Multnomah County East Building: 600 N.E. 8th St., Gresham, operated by Multnomah County

State of Oregon Building: 800 NE Oregon St., operated by State employees

Imago Dei Church: 1302 S.E. Ankeny St., Portland, operated by Multnomah County

Charles Jordan Community Center: 9009 N. Foss Ave., Portland, operated by Multnomah County

The Bud Clark Day Center: 665 NW Hoyt St, operated by Transition Projects, will also open today at 5:30 pm, but will close again at 7 am Wednesday.

On top of the emergency shelters listed above, an overnight winter shelter at Portsmouth Union Church in North Portland (4775 N Lombard St), operated by All Good Northwest, will stay open 24-7 through tomorrow night. This shelter has 37 beds and can accommodate up to 50 people. This shelter is available by referral only, but people can self-refer by calling 971-716-3407. 

The county is still in urgent need of volunteers at its shelter sites. The only requirement to volunteer is a 30-minute bloodborne pathogens training.

"The County has opened 12 shelters — the most locations ever. But keeping more than 1,000 beds available in those shelters requires community help," a January 16 announcement states. "Anyone who is able and can travel to a shelter site safely is asked to volunteer for a shelter shift. Find all available shift opportunities and sign up online to support these life-saving resources." 

As staff with the city of Portland and Joint Office of Homeless Services worked to get unhoused folks into emergency shelter over the weekend, some had to be moved out of shelters. Widespread power outages affected two Safe Rest Village sites in Portland.

City staff confirmed that guests at the Reedway, and Multnomah Safe Rest Villages were moved to either a motel or the Temporary Alternative Shelter Site (TASS) at the Clinton Triangle in Southeast Portland, as both sites lost power to the sleeping pods. 

Safe Rest Village pods come equipped with heaters, but without power, residents reported temperatures inside the pods of 25 degrees amid Saturday's snow storm, before they were transferred. 

"This has been a team effort in terms of coordination and collaboration with our shelter providers (both All Good Northwest and Urban Alchemy), the Mayor's Office, and our partners at the Joint Office of Homeless Services," Bryan Aptekar, a spokesperson with the city's Safe Rest Village team, told the Mercury. "We are all grateful for the quick response on everyone's part to ensure all in the city's shelters have moved to warm, safe spaces."

In all, more than 160,000 people were without power during peak outages Saturday, according to Portland General Electric. 

Update: Sun, Jan 14, 12:15 pm: Multnomah County announced three additional warming shelters will open Sunday evening, bringing the total number of temporary shelters to 10. The shelters included in the list below will stay open at least through 8 pm Monday. One shelter site previously offered at First Christian Church had to close due to a pipe rupture.

Update: Sat, Jan 13, 5 pm: Snowfall and wind are expected to slow down this evening, but temperatures remain perilously cold. After cancelling some MAX segments earlier today due to down trees blocking tracks and power outages, TriMet announced this afternoon that all light rail service will be suspended until further notice. Bus service will continue, but many bus routes are being rerouted due to down trees, wires, and other impediments. TriMet's service alerts updates can be found here

Update Sat, Jan 13, 12 pm: As dangerously cold temperatures, along with increasing wind and snow, continue in the Portland Metro area, Multnomah County officials have announced that four additional warming shelters will open this evening, Saturday, January 13, which will bring the total number of shelters to 10. 

The county is reminding the public that no one seeking shelter will be turned away, and free transportation is available by calling 2-1-1 or by taking TriMet (who has announced they will not turn any rider away who's unable to pay their fare). 

Original post:

Cold Arctic air is headed toward the Pacific Northwest, bringing temperatures as low as 17 degrees and the potential for snow to the Portland area this weekend. Because of the risk such weather can pose, especially for people living outside, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson declared a state of emergency effective at 5 pm today, January 12. 

In an effort to help people who need respite from the unusually cold weather, Multnomah County and the city of Portland's Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) will open five emergency shelters in the Portland region beginning at 8 pm today, January 12, through at least tomorrow night, January 13. The shelters, operated by Multnomah County and partners Do Good Multnomah, Transition Projects, All Good Northwest, and Cultivate Initiatives, will add an additional 445 severe weather beds to the existing winter shelter options. 

According to a Multnomah County press release, all emergency sites will welcome pets and be accessible to people with disabilities. Transportation to the shelters will be provided for free through TriMet or by calling 2-1-1. All county shelters will accept people walking in without a referral, and they won't turn anyone away. 

Multnomah County officials say providers and nonprofits with the JOHS have been distributing thousands of hand warming packs, ponchos, socks, wool blankets, tarps, water bottles, and more to people in need since January 9.  

Cold weather can be deadly, and elderly and disabled people are especially susceptible to negative health outcomes from spending too much time outside when temperatures are low. With added wind chills, the air may feel even colder than what's described in weather reports, and frostbite and hypothermia can happen quickly. Look out for yourself and your neighbors during this time can be lifesaving.