Press Release

Mayor Wheeler has declared a local emergency due to the winter weather impacts to the Portland-metro area. The emergency declaration is effective Jan. 12, 2024. Severe cold weather and snowfall pose a threat to the health and safety of Portlanders, particularly those experiencing houselessness. The weather also poses an increased risk to infrastructure, leading to power outages, and interruptions to utilities and other services. 

“During an emergency, we need to make timely and collaborative decisions to ensure the safety of our community,” said Shad Ahmed, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) Director. “This declaration streamlines those decision-making processes and allows us to better support our partners, including the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).”  

“Below freezing temperatures and high winds continue to impede travel across the city,” said Millicent Williams, PBOT Director. “There are currently 25 road closures across the city due to downed trees and/or powerlines and we anticipate that number will grow. Please stay home and keep the roads clear for PBOT crews and first responders during this citywide emergency.”  

“Our group has received timely information and resources from City and County partners during the evolving severe weather conditions. This support has proven invaluable for our community, particularly as we serve diverse language speakers and those facing housing insecurity,” said Joshua Baker, Program Manager at Lloyd EcoDistrict, who is a member of Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD). “Information and outreach material in multiple languages has enabled us to effectively disseminate severe weather information, along with updates on newly established warming centers like the one at the State of Oregon Building in the Lloyd neighborhood.” 

Emergency Declarations modify multiple City procedures on a temporary basis to ensure the fullest extent of City support and coordination among multiple responding agencies. This ensures we have the people and tools needed to effectively advocate for the community and for our partners at Multnomah County.  

The Emergency Declaration: 

  • Appoints the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management Director as the Mayor’s designee. 
  • Ensures an expedited and coordinated response to the impacts of the weather event. 
  • Centralizes weather-related communications. 
  • Streamlines procurement and City processes. 

Staying safe is a community effort. Check on your friends, family, and neighbors during and after this weather event. Help them make a plan for a safe and warm place to be. Ensure that you have multiple ways to monitor changing conditions, including signing up for Public Alerts at