Howard Hall, University of Portland. Photo by Sam Keeler/The Beacon

A fire at the historic Hotel Alder apartment building in downtown Portland displaced dozens of residents on Jan. 4 amidst intense cold and winter weather. The University of Portland opened Howard Hall as a shelter to over 50 residents for one week following the fire. The fire started in the building’s mechanical room but affected multiple floors, according to a report by KGW.

Hotel Adler, which opened in 1910 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now owned by Central City Concern and has 99 low-income units. Many residents were displaced for what fire officials say may be several weeks before the building can be fully repaired. No one was seriously hurt in the fire.

The fire came at a time when the City of Portland was already struggling to find space in shelters for its homeless population in response to freezing temperatures, snow and ice.

A temporary shelter on The Bluff was made available to fire victims after University officials were contacted directly by Red Cross Disaster Services, according to Jim Ravelli, Vice President for Operations. Ravelli said that only a few hours after consulting University President Fr. Mark Poorman and being informed that the Red Cross would manage all aspects of the emergency shelter, 51 displaced residents moved into Howard Hall on Jan. 6 and remained until Jan. 13.

“Our motivation for this was to live our mission and help those in need,” Ravelli said.

The Red Cross set up another temporary shelter at First Christian Church downtown for fire victims and their pets.

Both monetary and emergency clothing donations are being collected by Central City Concern on behalf of the victims online and at 232 NW Sixth Ave.

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