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With freezing temperatures and wind-chill expected Saturday night, extra shelters will open

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP FILE PHOTO - The weekend's cold weather prompted city and county officials to activate emergency shelters so people wouldn't have to stay on the streets as temperatures dropped.Local officials are activating shelters in Portland and Gresham on Saturday night in light of forecasts of severe weather, and urged donations of warm clothing.

The Joint Office of Homeless Services is citing wet conditions and freezing temperatures and windchills expected later on Saturday, Dec. 23, along with freezing rain.

"Anyone who needs a warm space should call 211 for information and to arrange transportation to shelter as needed. No one who calls seeking shelter will be turned away and will be transported as needed," according to the announcement.

The centers will be operated by the nonprofit Transition Projects. In Portland they'll operate from 8:30 p.m. Dec. 23, to 7 a.m. Dec. 24, at Imago Dei, 1302 S.E. Ankeny St., and Bud Clark Commons day center, 650 N.W. Irving St.

In Gresham the shelter at Sunrise Center, 18901 E. Burnside, will open from 9 p.m. Dec. 23, to 7 a.m. Dec. 24.

The shelters will be open to "individual adults, couples and their pets and belongings," according to the announcement. "Families with children should contact 211 directly to access and arrange transport as needed to severe weather shelter."

The severe weather centers don't require identification or documentation.

Additional shelters may open, if so information will be posted at 211info.org. Text alerts will be issued, those interested can sign up at the same website.

Hundreds of people took advantage of cold-weather shelters opened between Dec. 10 to 14, according to the joint office.

For information about specific items to donate, see www.211info.org/donations.

Officials say the following will help homeless people and families prepare for the winter;

• Thick socks, knit hats, rain ponchos

• Waterproof/resistant gloves or mittens, preferably dark

• Waterproof or water-resistant winter coats

• Sleeping bags, warm blankets

• Waterproof or water-resistant hats

• Tarps

• Hand warmers

Some food items are not suitable for donation.

Officials suggest calling 911 if you see someone who is in danger or in a medical crisis. For less urgent welfare checks, all police non-emergency, 503-823-3333. The county offers phone assistance for people in mental health crisis, 503-988-4888.

The joint office is operated by the city of Portland and Multnomah County.

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