On Monday, around 7:30 p.m., East Precinct officers responded to the 9900 block of East Burnside Street to conduct a welfare check on a man lying down in front of a business.
When they arrived, police found an unresponsive male lying in front of a business.
The man appeared to be homeless, lying on a pillow with a blanket covering his body.
Portland Fire & Rescue personnel responded and determined that the man was deceased and had been for several hours.
The man was identified as 51-year-old Mark Elliot Johnson, last known address in Hillsboro, police said in an email.
Based on observations at the scene by officers and paramedics, it appeared that Johnson died of exposure due to cold temperatures.
Today, the Oregon State Medical Examiner determined Johnson’s cause of death to be hypothermia.
As freezing temperatures are expected to continue this week, Portland Police officers will be actively looking for and checking on vulnerable people and facilitating transportation to warming shelters as needed.
Due to the vicissitudes of the weather, this time of year is especially dangerous for the homeless
Warming centers are open in Portland and Gresham with capacity during day and night.
Call 211 in Multnomah County at any hour for the latest information about open shelters. Calls are answered in over 150 languages.
In addition, can visit 211’s website for updated information and sign up for emails or texts about updated warming center locations. Severe weather centers will accommodate individuals and couples, pets and belongings, and do not require identification or any other documentation.
Families with children seeking shelter should also call 211 and will be directed to a shelter that can accommodate children.
People seeking to get warm, especially during daytime hours, are encouraged to utilize public buildings that are open to the public, including, for example, libraries and community centers. Library hours are listed on Multnomah County Library’s website. City community center information is listed here.
During extreme cold weather there is increased risk of exposure-related injuries for homeless people who do not have sufficient shelter, or gear, such as coats, hats, gloves, footwear, tarps, sleeping bags and blankets.
For information about what and where to donate, please contact 211info by dialing 211 or by visiting their website.
For additional information on the dangers of cold including: hypothermia, carbon monoxide hazards and important information on the use of alternative sources of heat, please visit Multnomah County’s website.