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DHS news release

January 8, 2004

Contact:Jim Sellers (503) 945-5738
Facilities contact: Clyde Saiki (503) 945-5731

Weather forces several Department of Human Services closures

To protect the safety of the public and employees, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) today closed several Portland-area offices because of surrounding hazardous conditions and closed Hood River and Milton-Freewater offices because of weather-related problems.

"Icy conditions are continuing to create safety hazards on Portland-area walkways and parking lots, and we had reports Thursday morning of more than a dozen people falling," said Clyde Saiki, DHS assistant director for administrative services. "Our goal is to have all offices open normal business hours on Friday, and we will make a decision on that early Friday."

Saiki said the Oregon Department of Administrative Services authorized agencies to make decisions locally to protect public safety.

Portland State Office Building at 800 N.E. Oregon St., where a number of DHS public-health employees work, was also closed during the morning by state Administrative Services.

DHS offices that opened Thursday morning and were subsequently closed:

  • Portland: DHS vocational rehabilitation offices in East Portland at 305 N.E. 102nd Ave. and in North Portland at 4744 N. Interstate Ave. were closed. Closing at 3 p.m. because of hazardous conditions will be the St. Johns office at 7825 N. Lombard; Gresham chilid-welfare office at 355 N.W. Division; and the central support unit at 6443 N. Lombard.

  • Hillsboro: Child-welfare and self-sufficiency offices at 5920 N.E. Ray Circle, Hillsboro, were closed because of ice.

  • Tigard: Child-welfare, self-sufficiency and vocational rehabilitation offices 10777 S.W. Cascade Ave., Tigard, closed owing to surrounding icy conditions.

  • Hood River: Child-welfare, self-sufficiency, and seniors and people with disabilities offices at 1610 Ninth Court, Hood River, were closed because of a broken water pipe and heating problems.

  • Milton-Freewater: DHS seniors and people with disabilities office at 309 N. Columbia, Milton-Freewater, was closed because of water dripping through a leaking roof onto an electrical breaker box. The self-sufficiency part of the office, served by a separate breaker box, remained open.

Meanwhile, DHS' Milwaukie child-welfare, self-sufficiency and vocational-rehabilitation offices at 4252 and 4382 International Way will remain open until 3 p.m. today to handle phone calls and emergencies, although the public is being asked to avoid visiting the offices if possible because of dangerously icy conditions.

"Even where we're staying open," Saiki said, "we are discouraging people without emergencies from visiting Portland-area DHS offices if walkways or parking lots are made slippery by ice. We are working with our landlords to make visiting all our offices safe again by Friday."

During emergency office closures and after hours, Saiki said, people with child-abuse and child-neglect reports should phone 9-1-1.