Portland, OR

Portland area braces for first summer heatwave

Rose Bak

Officials prepare to help residents stay safe.

Photo by Lucian Dachman on Unsplash

While most of the country has already been experiencing high temperatures and "heat domes", the Portland area has remained stubbornly cool and rainy. That's about to change. This weekend meteorologists are predicting weather in the mid-90s, which will be a shock to the system for those who are not acclimated to high temperatures.

City and county officials are gearing up to help people stay safe, hoping to avoid the high number of heat-related deaths that occurred during last year's extreme weather. Residents are urged to start preparing for the impacts of high temperatures, not only this year but throughout the summer.

Here's what you need to know right now:

How to Stay Safe in the Heat

The best way to stay safe is to stay in a cool indoor location, but that's not possible for everyone.

Many housing units and public spaces are not designed for high temperatures. Building upgrades have not kept up with changes in the environment due to global warming. To help, health officials have posted a wealth of information you can use to stay cool and help avoid heat-related injuries.

Tips and information are available in multiple languages here. If you want to learn more about heat-related illnesses, click here.

Extreme heat events may cause some people to lose power. For information on what to do if your power goes out, click here.

Where to Go

If temperatures rise to dangerous levels, local officials will activate cooling centers. Cooling centers are places where people can rest during the heat of the day. Some cooling centers may also be open overnight. 211info, our regional services information hub, maintains updated lists of cooling center openings, locations, and hours. Find out more on their website here.

Malls, movie theaters, and libraries are also good places to escape the heat. Masks may be required in some locations.

Getting out into the woods or local waterways can help you cool down, however, officials warn that area lakes and rivers are still very cold and caution is advised when entering the water. Life jackets are recommended, particularly for children.

How to Help Vulnerable Populations

Social service providers are currently doing outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness, people in subsidized housing, and people who receive services, but it's not possible to reach everyone. As temperatures rise, residents are encouraged to check on their family and neighbors, particularly those who are elderly, disabled, or have medical conditions.

If cooling centers are activated, local agencies may put out a call for volunteers and/or supplies. Requests for assistance will be available at 211info as needs arise.

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Rose Bak is a freelance writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with her family and special needs dogs. She writes on a variety of topics including local news, homelessness, poverty, relationships, yoga, and aging. She is also a published author of romantic fiction. For more of Rose's work, visit her website at rosebakenterprises.com or follow her on social media @AuthorRoseBak.

Portland, OR

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