Residents cautioned to cool down during late July heat wave

July 20, 2018

Whether you’re stretched out at Cathedral Park enjoying the baritone vocals of Sean Holmes, or pedaling across the Tilikum Bridge at Portland’s Sunday Parkways, folks should prepare for a heat wave to roll in on Sunday and stay through much of next week.

A girl plays in a fountain on a hot day in July, 2018.

Multnomah County will open a cooling shelter at its East County building, located at 600 NE 8th St., in Gresham, on Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. They'll host games and a movie for kids, as well as snacks. For information about the cooling center and to find out about transportation, contact 2-1-1.

Sunday temperatures are expected to reach 93 degrees and peak Monday, with a high of 97. By Tuesday, temperatures should slightly drop, but are forecast to remain in the 90s for the rest of the week. Multiple days of hot weather could lead to health issues for some people.

“If you don’t feel well, find some shade and drink some water,” said Tri-County Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis. “Get to know your neighbors and help look after each other, especially people with physical limitations or the elderly.”

Seniors are most vulnerable to prolonged heat exposure, in part because they perspire less, a function that cools the body. Young children, people with chronic health problems and people with disabilities are also more vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. So are neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and surviving without shelter or access to cool places.

Day centers serving neighbors experiencing homelessness will be open, as they are most days of the year. Portland Parks and Recreation will keep chlorinated water pumping to city fountains. And County library branches will turn up the air conditioning.

"Across Multnomah County, our 19 public libraries are cool and welcoming spaces for everyone," said Multnomah County Library Deputy Director Terrilyn Chun. "Libraries offer much more than books. In every location, friendly staff are ready to help patrons find that next great read, but also to connect with friends and loved ones, learn new skills, explore and create."

[see this map of pools, fountains and library branches]

People who exercise outdoors or who are planning to work in their yard should do so on Saturday or early in the day on Sunday, suggested Brendan Haggerty, who monitors climate-related health issues for Multnomah County Environmental Health Services. And people who work outside during the hottest temperatures should take particular care to drink water (even before they feel thirsty), wear a hat, apply sunscreen and take frequent shade breaks.

“It’s going to be a prolonged stretch of fairly hot weather,” said Andy Bryant, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. “We’re not likely to see the kind of breaks like we’ve seen the last couple of days. More likely we’ll see highs from the upper 90s to upper 90s. And dry.”


More on how to beat the heat

Help for When it’s Hot: Tip sheets, resource guides and videos produced by Multnomah County.

Map of Cool Spaces: An interactive map of libraries, public pools and water fountains.

Heat Risk Tool: The National Weather Service developed a tool to help forecast when excessive heat might put people at risk.

Library Events: Check out fun classes and craft events, storytimes, and language learning groups t Multnomah County’s 19 libraries.

Multilingual FAQs: The Oregon Health Authority posts tip sheets on heat and health in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Somali and Chinese.