Update, 1:13 pm Thursday, Nov. 28: The Joint Office of Homeless Services will open three severe weather shelters tonight, as temperatures are expected to plummet below freezing.
Original post, 1:08 pm Wednesday, Nov. 27:
It's going to be a cold Thanksgiving in Portland.
The National Weather Service predicts temperatures of 30 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday morning and 26 degrees on Friday morning.
The below-freezing weather could initiate a severe weather notice in Multnomah County—meaning additional warming shelters will open for people in need. The county opens severe weather shelters when daytime forecasts are at 25 degrees or lower and nighttime temps drop below freezing with at least an inch of rain; when forecasts predict at least an inch of snow in most areas; or when there is severe wind chill.
The county has issued is a cold-weather alert tonight through tomorrow morning, which triggers extra outreach but does not open additional beds.
"The Joint Office [of Homeless Services] has asked contracted outreach providers to head out and find vulnerable people and distribute life-saving gear to those who may not be fully prepared for cold conditions," the county said in a statement.
County spokesperson Denis Theriault says three severe weather shelters will open "on any given night of severe weather."
"If we filled those, over several days say, we have a deal with Portland Parks this year and have three community centers staged for another 300-plus beds," Theriault says. "And we'd keep opening more if needed."
In the event of severe weather, no one who needs shelter is turned away.
"On severe weather nights, we'll have at least 2,000 beds open," Theriault says, "more than 1,400 year-round beds, 215 all-winter beds and then 325 severe weather beds."
Shelter providers and county officials have already put out an ongoing call for donations of winter weather gear. A list of year-round shelters can be found at 211info.org.