Danny Peterson and Joelle Jones

6 hours ago

PORTLAND, Oregon.KOIN) — Multnomah County Chairwoman Jessica Vega Pederson has declared a state of emergency effective Friday amid forecasts of dangerously high temperatures as the county prepares to open cooling centers that day.

This comes after the The National Weather Service has issued an extreme heat warning for the Portland area from Thursday, July 4 at noon through Sunday, July 7 at 11 p.m., with forecasts calling for triple digit temperatures over the weekend. Oregon Governor Tina Kotek also announced that the state is mobilizing emergency resources to combat the potential record-breaking heat.

The province’s state of emergency is in effect from Friday, July 5 at noon through Monday, July 8 at noon. County officials noted that the forecast is likely to exceed 100 degrees on Saturday and Sunday, and that “temperatures may not drop enough at night to provide needed relief.”

“We’ve obviously been monitoring this very closely and it hasn’t developed in a favorable light for us,” said Chris Voss, Multnomah County’s director of emergency management.

While officials said the county and its partners are preparing to open the cooling centers and provide other cool spaces amid the dangerously warm forecast, exact locations and hours won’t be announced until the day before. KOIN 6 News asked the county why the wait is necessary.

“There are a lot of resources, dollars and people that are actually doing this. And to make sure that we are there on the days of highest risk, it means that sometimes we are careful when we set up a process so that we are not there when the community does not need those resources,” Voss said.

Although civil servants said Tuesday that a final decision on whether the cooling centers would open would not be made official until ThursdayThey appear to have changed their tune Wednesday. Voss said county officials are “scoring locations for the cooling center, hiring staff and developing plans.”

“Everyone should be thinking about how they can keep themselves cool and making plans to support friends and family who need help,” he said.

County health officials say people who spend extended periods of time outdoors (including the homeless), the very young or old, and people with health problems are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness.

“Whether you’re staying home or heading out this weekend, we want everyone to look out for each other,” Dr. Richard Bruno, health officer for the Multnomah County Health Department, said in a statement. “If you have air conditioning, now is the time to invite older family members and friends over. Call and ask about friends and seniors who may be at increased risk for heat-related illness.”

People who attend music festivals and sporting events are also at risk of heat-related illness because attendees typically spend a lot of time outdoors and there is little access to shade and water, Bruno said.

More information about available cooling locations can be found at this interactive map on the Multnomah County website.

Cooling centres in neighbouring provinces

In Clackamas County, the Emergency Operations Center was activated Wednesday morning to prepare for their response. A daytime cooling center will be available Thursday at Father’s Heart in Oregon City (when libraries are closed). A more comprehensive list of available daytime cooling centers and splash pads can be found at Clackamas County Website.

Beginning Friday, the Beaverton City Library Main and Murray Scholls Branch will operate as cooling centers in Washington County, with the main branch extending lobby hours to 9 p.m. through Sunday. More information about the Washington County cooling centers can be found at an interactive map on their website.

Clark County in Washington also plans to open two day centers Friday, at Mill Plain United Methodist Church and Living Hope Church, in addition to coordinated medical outreach for the homeless. More information can be found at website for the Homeless Council.