From the archives: Calling all night owls: County seeks volunteers for cooling center shifts

June 28, 2021

Community volunteers are urgently needed as Multnomah County works to keep its life-saving 24-hour cooling centers open through 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 30. Volunteers are especially needed for overnight shifts at two sites: The Oregon Convention Center and Arbor Lodge.

Hundreds of people have come to the cooling centers since they opened at 1p.m. Friday, June 25, to escape unprecedented temperatures. And temperatures continued to climb into Monday, reaching a scorching 115 and setting a record for a third consecutive day. People who need to reach a cooling center should call 2-1-1 or go to to obtain rides as needed. 

At the cooling centers, neighbors from throughout the community have found a place for themselves and their pets to cool off, snack, charge their phones, watch TV, read, play games, do yoga, dance and rest for the night. 

Volunteers must be 18 or older and able to serve guests with compassion and understanding during a difficult time. They support the cooling center and guests in any number of ways, from handing out meals to setting up cots to directing guests to other community services.

“So many people have stepped up, but we need more help. These spaces save people’s lives,” said Lee Girard, deputy director at the Department of County Human Services. “People’s lives are at stake; and even helping with one shift, you’re helping to save people’s lives.” 

Sign up to volunteer

Oregon Convention Center:

Arbor Lodge: