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Severe Weather Shelters Opening Around Multnomah County Ahead of Inclement Weather

<p>The 5th Avenue Winter Shelter is a temporary shelter for men experiencing homelessness in downtown Portland.</p>
<p>The 5th Avenue Winter Shelter is a temporary shelter for men experiencing homelessness in downtown Portland.</p>

Severe weather shelters are opening their doors in Multnomah County Monday evening ahead of forecasts that bring the risk of significant freezing rain and snow.

Multnomah County has issued a Severe Weather Alert, and is urging anyone who needs a bed or a ride to shelter to call 211. People can also call 211 for others who may need shelter.

Severe weather shelters do not require identification or any other documentation, and officials say rides will be provided to whomever needs them to escape the winter weather. During severe weather, no one seeking shelter will be turned away, and the county plans to open more severe weather sites as needed. Outreach workers will turn to the streets to provide cold weather gear and inform people about emergency shelters.

Beginning Monday evening, close to 2,000 publicly funded beds will be available, including 350 severe weather beds opening tonight – more than 200 beds that are open all winter and more than 1,400 beds that are open year-round. Multnomah County says the nonprofit Transition Projects will open emergency shelters at:

Bud Clark Commons (650 NW Irving, in Portland)

Imago Dei (1302 SE Ankeny, in Portland)

Sunrise Center (18901 E Burnside, in Gresham)

All three sites will start expanded operations 8:30 p.m. Monday until 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, with pets allowed.

“It’s a good time to remind ourselves how vulnerable people experiencing homelessness are, especially during these severe weather times,” said Matt Olguin, director of shelter services at Transition Projects.

Olguin said Transition Projects has volunteer opportunities for those who want to help people find shelter.

Service providers and the Joint Office of Homeless Services in Multnomah County are calling for community donations of critical winter gear, including waterproof hats, gloves, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags and coats. Denis Theriault with Multnomah County says people can donate to shelters’ specific donation needs online through 211.

Other seasonal shelters in Multnomah County are operating daily through the winter:

North Portland Winter Shelter (Portsmouth Union Church, 4775 N Lombard Avenue, in Portland)

5th Avenue Winter Shelter (421 SW 5th Avenue, in Portland)

Union Gospel Mission Winter Shelter (15 NW 3rd Avenue, in Portland)

“People who live on the street are tremendously resourceful — they’re survivors,” said Andy Goebel, manager of North Portland Winter Shelter. “My hope is that folks take that step to be indoors and to be warm and safe for the night.”

More information on shelters and warming centers can be found through 211.

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