Multnomah County to open cooling centers Monday, May 22

May 19, 2017

With temperatures expected to climb into the low 90s today for the first time this year, three cooling centers will open in Multnomah County to help seniors and people with disabilities and other health conditions stay safe.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will warm into the upper 80s to low 90s today, which is much warmer than the temperatures typical for May. Extreme heat can be very dangerous, especially for the most vulnerable in our community.

People in need of refuge from the hot weather can access cooling centers today, Monday, May 22 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the hottest part of the day. 

Transportation to cooling centers can be arranged by calling Ride Connection at 503.226.0700. Advance reservations are encouraged. All rides are free of charge.

Pets and children are welcome at all three cooling center locations. Each location also will have activities including board games and movies. Snacks and water also are available.

Cooling center locations are: 

Multnomah County Walnut Park Building, 5325 NE MLK Jr. Blvd., Portland 

Multnomah County East Building, 600 NE 8th St., Gresham 

Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Ave., Portland 

As the temperature climbs, community members also are encouraged to check on elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives. Heat stroke or heat exhaustion are common conditions in hot weather. Higher temperatures also can place a dangerous strain on those with heart and other health issues. Need a reminder to get the word out about cooling centers? You can sign up to receive an alert when cooling centers are open so you can tell those in need.

Here are a few tips for staying cool:

  • Drink plenty of water, non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids. People with health conditions such as epilepsy, heart or kidney disease should talk to a doctor before increasing their consumption. 
  • Find the cool places. Visit a family member or neighbor with air conditioning, or go to the nearest public library, shopping mall or other cooled space.
  • Dress for the weather. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Never wait in a parked vehicle or leave a child, elder or pet waiting in a parked car. Temperatures inside parked vehicles can rise dangerously high -- even with the windows open.
  • Slow down. Reduce or reschedule strenuous activities until the heat of the day has passed. 
  • Stay out of the sun. Sunburn interferes with the skin’s ability to cool. 
  • Take a cool bath, shower or sponge bath. Cool water can help cool an overheated body. 
  • Pay attention to older adults, people with disabilities or health conditions. 
  • Check on those who are at-risk at least twice a day. 

For additional tips, visit www.multco.us/help-when-its-hot. The Multnomah County Aging, Disability and Veterans Services Helpline has resources for older adults and people with disabilities, including a list of senior centers, transportation services and 24-hour crisis intervention. Call 503-988-3646 or TTY at 503-988-3683.

Click here to download our cooling center flyer for Monday, May 22.