Oregon Humane Society faces up to $75,000 storm damage bill

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Jan. 19, 2024 10:24 p.m.
In this photo from 2020, a guinea pig is held at the Oregon Humane Society in Portland.

In this photo from 2020, a guinea pig is held at the Oregon Humane Society in Portland.

Courtesy Oregon Humane Society

Many organizations simply closed down during this week’s storms, but not the Oregon Humane Society in Portland.


“We don’t have an option to shut the doors and turn out the lights,” said OHS president Sharon Harmon.

The shelter had 240 animals to care for during the bouts of snow and ice that prompted Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek to declare a statewide emergency Thursday.

“All the animals are getting the same quality of care,” Harmon said. “But due to the ice, they may not be getting out for the long walks on the dog path and down the hillside. I think they’re just as bored as we are. But we’ll get through it.”


To make matters worse, several pipes at the Humane Society burst, sending a flood of water through ceilings, down walls and onto floors.

The recent storm brought frigid temperatures, downed trees, and massive power outages—including significant damage to our Portland Campus. Pipes burst and flooded vital areas of the shelter—and left some of the building without heat. Fortunately, no animals were harmed and continue to receive care by dedicated staff and volunteers. Keeping animals safe and comfortable is our top priority. While the full extent of the damage is unknown at this time, staff are working swiftly to prepare for another round of icy weather while evaluating both short and long-term solutions. Support from donors like you will help us recover, make vital repairs, and continue caring for the incredible pets relying on us each day. Give to help animals - bit.ly/2024WinterStormUpdate

Posted by Oregon Humane Society on Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Harmon expects the damage to amount to between $50,000 and $75,000. Water flooded the laundry room, the kitchen, a storage unit and a spot for small animals. The clinic was also damaged.

“That will be a huge impact on our ability to spay and neuter,” Harmon said.

The nonprofit also lost the use of a power washer, which makes cleaning more difficult.

“Until that can get replaced, we’re trying to clean kennels with cold hose water, as opposed to warm, pressured water with detergents and disinfectants added,” she said.

The shelter’s rescue center and its veterinary hospital remain open and undamaged.