City successfully opens armory as temporary shelter

On Tuesday the Temporary Evacuation Point and Shelter, TEPS, was successfully transitioned from Porterville College to the Porterville Army National Guard Armory at the corner of Olive and Plano.

The TEPS at the PC gym opened on March 10 as a result of Evacuation Orders for the Springville area along the Tule River due to flooding caused by the storms. The planning for the TEPS transition began at the beginning of April by City of Porterville and County of Tulare staff when PC indicated it would need to use its gym by mid-April for upcoming events and graduation ceremonies.

With the Evacuation Order of the banks of the Tule River within city limits still in effect due to continued erosion, as well as Evacuation Warnings along the entire Tule River in effect, a replacement TEPS location needed to be identified, considering as well the TEPS in Dinuba and Exeter had already closed and the TEPS at the Tulare Fairgrounds was also closing on Tuesday. 

“Thanks to the invaluable assistance and support of State Senator Shannon Grove, State Senator Melissa Hurtado, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, Tulare County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dennis Townsend and Porterville City Council Member Greg Meister, the city was able to secure access to the Porterville Army National Guard Armory and establish it as a replacement TEPS location in collaboration and coordination with the county,” the city stated.

In order to safely open, many facility improvements and maintenance had to be made to the armory to meet American Red Cross facility requirements. City staff had been active at the Armory over several days providing necessary life safety improvements and facility/grounds maintenance in preparation for the transition. 

“With the valuable guidance of the American Red Cross, which continues to provide TEPS services, resources were identified needed to open and support the successful transition,” the city stated.

ADA-compliant portable restrooms, mobile ADA-compliant showers and mobile laundry services were secured. The Porterville Police Department is providing animal care and shelter coordination. The city is also providing custodial services, hourly law enforcement service checks, and refuse services, and the county is providing 24-hour security and TEPS resident assistance and services. 

“The city wishes to thank the many state, county and local agencies and non-profit partners that collaboratively coordinated in the successful TEPS transition, and the dedicated volunteers at the American Red Cross and faculty and students of Porterville College for their assistance, flexibility and support while the TEPS was located at the college,” the city stated.

The Porterville City Council has scheduled a special council meeting for 11 a.m. Friday in council chambers to consider approval of a draft license agreement between the city and the California Military Department for the temporary use of the armory.  

At the height of the evacuation about 150 people were using the temporary shelter at PC. As of last Friday about 80 people were using the shelter. There were about 50 pets at the shelter last week as well.