Taxonomy 101

It's Taxonomy 101 time! Last week we explored the definition of taxonomy and uncovered the ten service categories. Today we'll break it down and unravel a bit more behind the lexicon of taxonomy. 

According to the AIRS I&R Training Manual, every one of the 9.000+ taxonomy terms has a full definition and an alpha-numeric code that gives it a unique position within the hierarchy. There are six potential levels of hierarchy from the broadest to the narrowest concept. 

Maybe you're searching for "shelter"; what option may arise after you hit the search key, or one of our Community Information Specialists conduct a search? Here are some examples:

  • Animal Shelters
  • Bus Stop Shelters
  • Extreme Cold Weather Shelters
  • Immigrant/Refugee Shelters
  • Mass Care Shelters
  • Shelter Information Lines
  • Wildlife Shelters
  • ...and many more!

As you can see, all of these options contain the word "shelter", but it may not be exactly what you were seeking. The specific term of "shelter" can be found across the ten service categories. For example, "Wildlife Shelters" is under the branch of Environmental Quality and Public Health/Safety, while "Extreme Cold Weather Shelters" is housed under Basic Needs

WIth that, we'll show how a broad topic or service category is narrowed down: 

  1. Basic Needs - B
  2. Housing/Shelter - BH
  3. Emergency Shelter - BH-1800
  4. Homeless Shelter - BH-1800.8500
  5. Extreme Cold Weather Shelters - BH-1800.8500-185

What is an "Extreme Cold Weather Shelter"?: Programs that provide overnight accommodations during times of extreme cold for people who are temporarily at risk of exposure due to being homeless. 

AIRS provides seven other 5th level shelter terms including

  • Community Shelter
  • Day Shelter
  • Homeless Motel Vouchers
  • Homeless Safe Parking Programs
  • Missions
  • Urban Campsites
  • Wet Shelters

Each have their own unique definition and are authorized for our center to utilize when categorizing services and searching for resources. If any of these 5th level terms are authorized, we can use them all. Otherwise, we would attach the 4th level term - Homeless Shelter - to many, many records. This would slow down a search for you or our staff, and a very specific need may not be recorded for data and quality assurance purposes. 

Thank you for reading! We'll be back again next to uncover more within the world of taxonomy. 

Posted on February 13, 2018 and filed under taxonomy.

Advocacy Day in Washington

Last week, staff from 211info joined over 600 advocates in Olympia where we participated in Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. Statewide representatives from Washington 211 also provided support and sponsorship to the day's events.

As we convened on the capitol steps and in the offices of elected officials, we rallied support and brought our voices to the table in support of house and senate bills aimed to help find solutions to the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Washington state. Advocates met respectively with representatives from the 17th, 18th, and 49th Legislative Districts which encompass Clark County. We'd like to share some of the images posted on our social media accounts including Instagram and Twitter


The day's agenda.

The day's agenda.

A few of the day's sponsors!

A few of the day's sponsors!

Our group of advocates from Clark County.

Our group of advocates from Clark County.

Representing the 17th Legislative District!

Representing the 17th Legislative District!

Washington 211 swag and information table. 

Washington 211 swag and information table. 

Time to gather on the steps for the noon rally! 

Time to gather on the steps for the noon rally! 

Representatives from the 18th Legislative District meeting with Representative Liz Pike's legislative aid. 

Representatives from the 18th Legislative District meeting with Representative Liz Pike's legislative aid. 

Representatives from the 18th Legislative District meeting with Representative Brandon Vick.

Representatives from the 18th Legislative District meeting with Representative Brandon Vick.

The evening wrapped up with a celebration at the Governor's Mansion. 

The evening wrapped up with a celebration at the Governor's Mansion. 

Advocates listen in to Governor Jay Inslee's speech. 

Advocates listen in to Governor Jay Inslee's speech. 

Posted on February 7, 2018 .

Taxonomy 101

It's time for Taxonomy 101! We're starting this new blog series to explore the wonderful and ever-changing world of taxonomy here at 211info. This week, we'll start with an overview of taxonomy and show you the ten service categories. In upcoming weeks, we'll highlight a new taxonomy term each week, and bring you information about how we can customize a search based on your needs.

So, what is taxonomy? The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) provides this definition: "Taxonomies are sophisticated tools that help people find the information they need. They are a type of a controlled vocabulary, a standardized set of terms and phrases that are used to index and retrieve information about a particular subject in a systematic, unambiguous way. The AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy of Human Services sets a standard for defining services and for indexing and accessing the wide variety of human services available in communities across North America."

AIRS standards state that I&R (information and referral) services may adapt taxonomy to the community's size, nature, and organizational needs. 211info uses the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy of Human Services to index and facilitate retrieval of resource information, and our Resource Team documents the customization rules to ensure ongoing consistency. 

As librarians help you use the Dewey Decimal System to find your favorite book, think of 211info's I&R Specialists using taxonomy to help you find your favorite community resource. As for the ten service categories, they look something like this: 

  • Basic Needs
  • Consumer Services
  • Criminal Justice and Legal Services
  • Education
  • Environmental Quality and Public Health/Safety
  • Health Care
  • Income Support and Employment
  • Individual and Family Life
  • Mental Health Care and Substance Abuse Services
  • Organizational/Community/International Services
  • Target Populations - wait, that's 11! Don't worry; we'll cover this one, too!

Within these categories there are over 9,000 taxonomy terms! WOW! But don't worry: not every single term is activated at any given time. This is where our Resource Team cultivates the appropriate taxonomy term for the service provided, based on the definition, and helps narrow down the specific service, even for target populations. Whew! 

Next week we'll be back and start our discussion on specific taxonomy terms. 

Posted on February 6, 2018 and filed under taxonomy.

Project Homeless Connect

Project Homeless Connect, a one day event, provides free services and resources for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Services vary by location and may include dental care, vision care, healthcare screening, housing resources, employment resources, haircuts, foot washing, a free meal, and other services. 

Upcoming dates and locations throughout Oregon include: 

January 26, 2018

  • Sonrise Church, 6701 NE Campus Way, HIllsboro 9am-3pm
  • Church of the Nazarene, 227 NW 12th Street, Newport 10am-3pm

January 31, 2018

  • Josephine County Fairgrounds, 1451 Fairgrounds Road, Grants Pass 10am-3pm
  • Immanuel United Methodist Church, 200 West Watkins, Cave Junction 9am-4pm
  • Roseburg Presbyterian Church, 823 Lane Street Roseburg 10am-2pm
  • Christian Assembly Church, 195 Birch Street Yoncalla noon-3pm
  • Helping Hands Pantry, 19085 North Umpqua Hwy, Glide 10am-2pm
Posted on January 19, 2018 .

Yamhill County Point in Time Homeless Count

Yamhill County's Point In Time (PIT) Homeless Count will take place on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. This effort offers a snapshot of homelessness by recording the number of people in an emergency shelter or who are unsheltered on a single night of the year.

The surveys are completed with those who are living outside, with more than one family in a household, in a vehicle, in shelters, or motels. YCAP additionally counts those couch surfing, and living with family or friends in a temporary status. This information is used to plan local and national service delivery to at-risk populations.

Free countywide transporation provided by Yamhill County Transit Area. Snacks and/or meals will be available at all sites. To be counted, visit one of the thirteen drop-in locations: 

  • Amity Assembly of God, 310 Getchell Ave, Amity 11am-3pm
  • Carlton First Baptist Church Annex, 500 W Main St, Carlton 9am-1pm
  • Dayton City Hall Annex, 408 Ferry St, Dayton 9am-1pm
  • Dundee Community Center, 1026 Hwy 99W, Dundee 9am-1pm
  • Lafayette Community Center, 133 Adams St, Lafayette 9am-1pm
  • McMinnville First Presbyterian Church, 390 NE 2nd St, McMinnville 9am-1pm
  • McMinnville St. Barnabas Church, 822 SW 2nd St, McMinnville 2pm-6pm
  • McMinnville First Baptist Church, 125 SE Cowls, McMinnville 9am-1pm (Veteran site)
  • Newberg Youth Outreach, 719 E 1st St, Newberg 8am-2pm
  • Newberg Zion Lutheran Church, 301 S River St, Newberg noon-4pm
  • Newberg River Street Church, 715 S River St, Newberg 5pm-7:30pm
  • Sheridan Grand Sheramina, 120 North Bridge St, Sheridan 11am-3pm
  • Willamina Public Library, 382 NE C St, Willamina 11am-3pm


Posted on January 18, 2018 .

Cowlitz County Project Homeless Connect

Project Homeless Connect is a one day, one stop event designed to provide essential services to those in the community experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless. Services offered include a resource fair, housing search assistance, identification assistance, medical/dental/vision screenings, haircuts, a meal, winter clothing, and more. 

The event takes places on Thursday, January 25, 2018 10am-3pm at 951 Delaware Street in Longview. RiverCities Transit is also offering free transportation to the event. For more information please call Evelyn at 360-414-5599, ext 6458. 

Posted on January 10, 2018 .

Children's Dental Day

On Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 8am-2pm, Clark College Dental Hygiene students will provide free dental care to children under direct supervision of licensed dental hygienists and dentists. The clinic will offer cleanings, sealants, X-rays, doctor’s exams, fluoride, and select emergency treatments.

The clinic will be held in the Firstenburg Dental Hygiene Education and Care Center at Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way in Vancouver. Youth ages 1-18 will be served. Call 360-992-2158 to schedule an appointment. 

Posted on January 8, 2018 .

Oregon Health Share Member Info Session

Oregon Health Share is hosting a free member info session this evening in Oregon City at the Public Library, 606 John Adams Street at 5:30pm. Interpretation services and childcare are available by calling 503-416-8090 or emailing Light refreshments will be provided. At the session you can:  

  • Learn about health plan options
  • Find doctors
  • Learn about health benefits
  • Learn about free rides to appointments
  • Receive on-the-spot customer support
Posted on January 8, 2018 .

Clark County Project Homeless Connect

Project Homeless Connect provides free services and resources for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Services include dental care, vision care, healthcare screening, housing resources, employment resources, haircuts, foot washing, a free lunch, and other services.

This one day event will take place on Thursday, January 25, 2018 9am-2pm at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 400 South Andresen Road in Vancouver. Transportation by shuttle will be available from Washougal, downtown and central Vancouver.

Posted on January 3, 2018 .

Winter Parenting Groups in Yamhill County

Mid-Valley Parenting is offering free groups this winter in Yamhill County. These are for any parent or caregiver of children, and groups are offered specifically for moms, dads, and parents of children with special needs and health challenges. All groups are free, provide child care, and food. Gas vouchers and bus passes are available by request for families needing transportation assistance. Parenting groups will be offered in Sheridan, Willamina, McMinnville, and Yamhill.

To register, call 503-455-8047, send a text message to 503-857-7782, or visit the Mid-Valley Parenting website.

Posted on January 2, 2018 .

NAMI Family & Friends

NAMI Family & Friends is a 4 hour seminar that informs and supports those who have loved ones with a mental condition. The goal of this program is to offer participants skills and information to address their immediate concerns until they can attend a NAMI class. Participants will learn about diagnoses, treatment, recovery, communication strategies, crisis preparation, and NAMI resources. 

The seminar is free and participants must register prior to attending. Several seminars are coming up throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. Visit the NAMI website to find seminar locations closest to your city. 

For general information about NAMI, visit the website for NAMI Oregon and NAMI Washington

Posted on January 2, 2018 .

Free Dental Days in Deschutes County

Advantage Dental is offering free dental screenings for all ages on the 1st Tuesday of every month beginning today. Services offered include: 

  • Addressing dental concerns 
  • Screenings of the teeth and gums
  • Preventative Services, including fluoride treatment, temporary fillings, and sealants
  • Toothbrush kits

To access these services, call 541-330-4646 to make an appointment or to speak with a provider. Appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Posted on January 2, 2018 .

Free Legal and Emergency Family Planning Clinic

A one day legal help and emergency safety planning clinic offering appointments with volunteer lawyers to discuss family law, injury, housing, bankruptcy, workers rights, immigration, and criminal issues. Also offering notary services on site. 

The event will be held at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 426 E Fourth Plain Boulevard in Vancouver on Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 9am-1pm. Call to make an appointment at 360-695-5313, or walk in no later than noon. 

Posted on December 13, 2017 .

Oregon State Health Assessment

The Oregon Health Authority is seeking respondents for their State Health Assessment, which describes the health of the population and identifies areas for the Oregon State Health Improvement Plan 2020-2024. Health departments are required to participate in this process once every 5 years.

If you identify as a person of color, LGBTQ, or disabled; were formerly incarcerated; or are currently experiencing housing instability, please consider adding your voices and experience to the the assessment. 

The survey is available in both English and Spanish. If you are unable to complete the online survey and would like a paper-based survey, please contact or call 971-673-1222.

La División de Salud Pública de la Autoridad de Salud de Oregón está realizando una evaluación de la salud del estado.

Los resultados de la evaluación de la salud del estado se usarán para identificar las prioridades para el Plan de Mejoramiento de la Salud del Estado de Oregón 2020-2024.

Nos gustaría conocer su opinión como parte de nuestro esfuerzo para recopilar información que se incluirá en la evaluación final de la salud del estado.

Para obtener más información sobre la evaluación de la salud del estado, visite www.healthOregó o comuníquese con nosotros a o llámenos al (971) 673-1222.

Posted on November 7, 2017 .

Senior Resource Fair - Multnomah County

The office of Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson will host a senior resource fair in partnership with Elders in Action. Multnomah County and its partners provide many important services to older adults in our community, but too often it can be difficult to access those services. That's why they are bringing them to you on Saturday, October 28, 10am-12:30pm at the Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97233.

Posted on October 24, 2017 .

Make 211info your first stop to be prepared for emergencies!

Make 211info your first stop to be prepared for emergencies! We have sharpened our expertise and tools to pivot on a dime to deliver accurate, timely, actionable information to the public that saves lives and protects property in emergencies.

The Eagle Creek fire created turmoil, uncertainty and fear for people, business, transportation corridors, and for the future of our precious Gorge. 211info responded to over 5,000 inquires related to the Eagle Creek Fire by providing accurate and timely information about evacuation for people, pets, and stock animals as well as air quality and transportation concerns.

In August, 211info took the lead to communicate with the public about the eclipse, where and how to view it, how to navigate traffic and stay safe during wildfire season. This allowed local responder systems to maintain steady-state situational readiness to respond to any incident or accident during this extraordinary natural phenomenon that drew so many visitors to our beautiful state.

Last winter, we worked closely with our partners in Central Oregon helping to manage the response to record amounts of snow and ice. 211info is ready to respond whatever the weather-including flooding, wind, heat, or bitter cold.

We help our public health partners inform and protect vulnerable populations like seniors, children, or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, get to safety in disasters. We get the word out about boil water notices in severe weather. We connect community members to learn how to be prepared for severe weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, or other emergencies. We help volunteer organizations coordinate shelter, food and water when times are tough. In partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, the Poison Control Center and CareOregon, 211info launched an innovative hotline system in the face of H1N1, which has since been recognized as a national model.

211info’s multiple communication channels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week make it possible to reach out and connect with information and services, no matter the weather, or emergency disruption. You can contact us via our website, mobile app, call, text, or email for breaking information you need to keep your loved ones safe and secure in emergencies.

Posted on October 23, 2017 .

October is National Healthy Lung Month

October is National Healthy Lung Month


Healthy Lung Month brings attention to the global concerns of pollution, air quality, and respiratory issues like COPD, asthma, and lung cancers. In support of patients, doctors, survivors, family members, caregivers, and lung health advocacy organizations working together to raise awareness, we’re sharing some information on common home contaminants along with some resources for improving your own lung health!


Help Your Lungs & Eliminate Contaminants


Hazardous Building Materials

When many people think about hazardous building materials, it is often associated with lead and asbestos. Lead was commonly used for plumbing fittings, pipes, and as an ingredient in paints. Lead is poisonous and causes developmental complications if ingested by children under six.  


Asbestos in particular is a natural, fire-resistant mineral also known as the miracle mineral and was predominantly found as an additive in insulation products, roofing shingles, cements, and paints. Depending on the renovation history of a particular structure, it could still contain asbestos. With materials containing this asbestos mineral, any amount of damage to them can pose a serious health risk simply due to inhalation or ingestion of airborne asbestos particles. Exposure to asbestos can cause respiratory illnesses that develop in the lungs such as asbestosis, or mesothelioma. oth of these illnesses have similar latency periods, therefor, individuals often experience symptoms that mimic more common illnesses. A notable yet unfortunate difference between the two is the shorter life expectancy for mesothelioma patients, whereas asbestosis victims could live with their disease for decades.

Mesothelioma is 99% preventable by avoiding exposure to asbestos and still, asbestos is not entirely banned in the United States. To this day, grandfathered products are allowed to contain up to 1% of asbestos, so every homeowner-tenant should take the correct measures to have the property inspected by an asbestos specialist. If you suspect presence of any of these contaminants, seek professional help.


For residents of Oregon, consult this list of certified asbestos contractors.


For residents of Washington, consult this list of certified asbestos contractors.


Leaking Gas Appliances and Exhaust

From gas furnaces and stoves to vehicle and industrial exhaust, Carbon Monoxide is toxic, odorless, and released as a byproduct of combustion. Gas appliances can cause particular harm, especially if they’re not properly installed or vented. Traditionally, homeowners will notice the effects of low level CO poisoning by experiencing symptoms such as headaches, sinus sensitivities, dizziness, and vomiting which will cause them to leave the building. However, extremely high concentrations become deadly within minutes. Therefore, all homeowners and tenants should install and maintain CO detectors to alert occupants of any changing conditions.


Chemical Fumes

What’s that smell? It could be common household cleaners, fuels, adhesives, and paints that are releasing toxic fumes and can be contributing to headaches, sinus sensitivities, and breathing complications. Inorganic chemicals found in common products cannot always be processed and eliminated from the body, leading them to build up over time. Known to cause serious organ damage and even cancers, prolonged exposure to inorganic toxins is not advised. High concentration exposure can cause dizziness, vomiting, blackouts, and even death. Although less common, chemical pneumonia can occur when harsh chemicals cause inflammation of the tissue surrounding the lungs. There are a number of determining factors when discussing the toxicity of specific chemicals, however a good rule of thumb is to treat every product as if it were dangerous and follow proper safety precautions.


Radioactive Gas

Radioactive gases are released as a byproduct of decomposing soils and rocks. Although they are normally released safely into the atmosphere, radon for example, can enter a building through loose foundations or exposed soil basements. Although there are safe levels of exposure, long term contact with high levels of radon can cause lung cancer. Monitoring radon levels is less common that other gases, but just as important. Over 6 million homes are exposed to varying levels of radon and therefore every homeowner and tenants should be aware of the potential hazard, and monitor for any extreme fluctuations. If you would like to learn how to test your home for radon and for further information visit


Posted on October 16, 2017 .

Family Caregiver Appreciation Day

The 1st annual Family Caregiver Appreciation Day offers a free day of rest and rejuvenation for unpaid family caregivers in the Columbia River Gorge. Taking place on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 10am-4pm at the Hood River Valley Adult Center, 2010 Sterling Place in Hood River, this event will provide pampering and education for family caregivers including: 

  • Massage, beauty products, and self-care workshops
  • Education on common caregiving topics
  • Connections to local resources for you and your loved one
  • Catered lunch

Respite care for your loved one is available on site or in their home (screening required). Register by phone at 541-298-4101 or online

Posted on October 16, 2017 .