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With a cold and wet winder predicted, more shelter space will be available than ever before.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Additional shelter space will be available this winter.Portland and Multnomah County leaders announced plans for providing more shelter space for the needy this winter.

The plans include increasing both permanent, seasonal and emergency shelter space. They include secondary locations with hundreds more beds should the initial five sites fill, according to officials with the Joint Office of Homeless Services, along with a pool of on-call workers ready to help and a downtown outreach supply center stocking up on cold-weather gear in addition to food and water.

With forecasters expecting an especially cold and wet winter, the leaders reaffirmed their promise to provide no-turn-away shelter and transportation on the most dangerous nights of the year.

Leaders who spoke during a Friday, Nov. 19, press conference included: Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Portland Mayor Ted wheeler, Portland Commissioner Dan Ryan, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal. They said the the highlights include:

• As many as five locations will be immediately ready to open on nights when severe weather thresholds are met, offering roughly 250 beds while also ensuring physical distancing and COVID-19 protocols.

• Secondary locations with hundreds more beds are ready to open should those initial sites fill.

• The combined spread of locations will offer unprecedented geographic flexibility and involve a wide array of government and community partners.

• The pool of on-call workers will be larger than ever, thanks to closer collaboration between City and County Emergency Management teams, contracted nonprofit partners, the state Department of Human Services, and Portland's Neighborhood Emergency Team volunteers.

• The Joint Office's downtown outreach supply center is stocking life-saving cold weather gear, along with food and water. The supply center will serve as a central hub and arsenal for coordinated work to send outreach teams across the County — not only on nights when there's severe weather, but on any night when it's below freezing.

• Community members can also plug in and support the plan right now: They can go to 211info.org/donations to help provide even more gear, before it's needed. Or they can sign up to train as a shelter volunteer with Transition Projects, at tprojects.org. Community members should also go to 211info.org and sign up to receive weather alerts

Under the plan, this year, more locations will open in the hours after a severe weather declaration than in past winters:

• The Portland Building, downtown (70 beds)

• Imago Dei Church, in the near eastside (50 beds)

• The Salvation Army's Moore Street center, in North Portland (50 beds)

• The Sunrise Center, in Gresham (45 beds)

• Mt. Scott Community Center, in Southeast Portland (30 beds)

Just like with year-round shelters, winter shelters are available only through reservations. Anyone interested in accessing shelter should contact 211. Seasonal shelters include:

• Walnut Park Shelter, 5329 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd.; 80 beds, operated by Transition Projects

• Downtown Winter Shelter (former Greyhound Station), 550 N.W. 6th Ave.; 96 beds, operated by Do Good Multnomah

• Arbor Lodge Winter Shelter, 1952 N. Lombard Ave.; 70 beds, operated by Do Good Multnomah

• Additional winter-only beds (10) will also be available in the Joint Office's youth shelter system.

Two of the seasonal shelters, the Walnut Park Shelter and the Downtown Winter Shelter, have been operating nonstop since last winter, thanks to COVID-19 funding and other local funding. Both have been able to continue providing space throughout the COVID-19 pandemic


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