From the Archives: Daytime cooling spaces open Wednesday, Aug. 17, and Thursday, Aug. 18; Health Officer urges outdoor workers to take precautions

August 17, 2022

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The Multnomah County Health Officer is reminding people to check in on neighbors who live alone and urging outdoor workers to take precautions as forecasts show near-100-degree heat and near-record overnight temperatures descending on the region today through Thursday. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for most of Multnomah County from 12 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, to 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18. Temperatures are expected to surge today, rising to the upper 90s and potentially reaching 100 degrees. While cooling will begin after sunset, about 8:16 p.m., overnight lows will stay near 70 degrees. High temperatures are also forecast to linger into Thursday, ranging from the low 90s to as high as 100 degrees.

“This event will be short, but intense heat can overwhelm our bodies, so having a plan to stay cool is key,” said Dr. Jennifer Vines, Multnomah County Health Officer.

Multnomah County and the City of Portland are urging people to take advantage of cooling resources, including a daytime cooling center in Old Town, and cooling spaces at libraries, splash pads and fountains and the Lloyd Center. Check out the cooling options on Multnomah County’s interactive map: People should call 211 to learn what transportation options are available.

People who plan to recreate are reminded to drink more water and dress appropriately before they begin activities like a hike or a bike ride, and they should avoid recreating during the heat of the day. People running errands should try to do so during cooler hours. And when you leave your car on a hot day, take every person and pet with you.

Libraries available

Libraries across Multnomah County are open as cool spaces during their regular hours. Staff will also be handing out bottled water. For the most up-to-date list of library locations and hours, go to (Central Library downtown will remain closed due to a renovation project that began Aug. 1.)

  • On Wednesday, Aug. 17, and Thursday, Aug. 18, all locations will be open during their regular hours, 10 to 6 p.m., but with five locations open noon to 8 p.m.: 

Daytime cooling center will open

Because Central Library remains under construction and unavailable as a daytime cooling space, a cooling center will open in Old Town on Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m. The cooling center is pet-friendly and will provide food, water, cooling items and places to rest. Anyone who needs a free ride to a cool space can dial 2-1-1.

And the Lloyd Center will extend its hours until 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday to serve as an additional site where people can come inside and cool off.

COVID-19 is still spreading in our community. To limit the spread of the virus, staff and guests will be asked to wear masks in the cooling center. Staff will work to accommodate guests who might need assistance with wearing a mask. Masks are available on site.

Other cool spaces

Other options including splash pads and community centers will be open Wednesday as usual. Community and arts centers managed by Portland Parks & Recreation allow anyone to enter and cool off, at no charge, during normal facility operating hours.

Guests who aren’t able to pay an admission fee can congregate in building lobbies and/or any other designated areas in indoor facilities to allow recreational programing to continue.

Find cooling options on Multnomah County’s interactive map:

Outreach to unsheltered community members

The Joint Office of Homeless Services on Monday, Aug. 15, began working with outreach teams, mutual aid groups and community volunteers to bring hot weather gear to people without shelter across Multnomah County.

Among the items the Joint Office distributed Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 16: more than 27,000 bottles of water, 2,900 electrolyte packets, 1,300 packets of sunscreen, nearly 1,200 cooling towels, nearly 600 refillable bottles, nearly 600 misting bottles, and more than 150 cans of insect repellent.

Cooling kits delivered to at-risk residents

The Department of County Human Services has so far this summer distributed more than 4,000 cooling kits to at-risk residents, including seniors, people with disabilities and culturally specific partners.

The kits – containing cooling towels, hot/cold gel packs, electrolyte packets, ice cube trays, water bottles, misting bottles, and magnets with tips to stay cool – have been shared with organizations including Home Forward, Catholic Charities of Oregon, NARA and many others.

Air quality and smoke risks

Multnomah County Environmental Health is also monitoring air quality and ozone levels. Check your local air quality online.

Water safety

As temperatures rise, rivers and lakes may offer relief from the heat. 

For those playing in or around the water, please wear a life jacket. Life jackets may be borrowed for free at many destinations and boat ramps across Multnomah County, including at the M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp near Broughton Beach, Dabney State Park, Blue Lake Park, Oxbow Park and Glenn Otto Park.

Lifeguards are present at Glenn Otto Park. Lifeguards can show visitors the safest place to swim and can also help people select a life jacket that fits best. 

What partners are doing

Because of the forecast of extreme heat this week, Metro’s two transfer stations in Portland and Oregon City will close to the public at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, and Thursday, Aug. 18, to protect the safety and health of the community and their teams. Metro will share an update Wednesday morning on any anticipated early closures Thursday. Haulers will be notified via phone and email.

Metro’s website will be updated with the most current information. The Recycling Information Center is also available at 503-234-3000 to verify any last-minute changes.

Take care of yourself and others 

Even in a shorter heat event, officials urge friends and family to check in on people who are older, live alone or don't have air conditioning.

People need breaks from the heat to give their bodies time to recover. Now is the time to invite that person to a movie or the mall, or an air-conditioned restaurant, or spend time in a local library. Offer a ride to a cooling space for anyone who doesn’t have AC at home. 

Share this page with updated information on cooling centers, shelters and other cool spaces:

The Multnomah County Behavioral Health Call Center is also available 24 hours a day to support anyone experiencing distress or to support those helping someone else. That includes responding to heat-related welfare checks, as well as resources and referrals for further support. Just dial 503-988-4888 (or toll-free at 800-716-9769; those who are hearing impaired can dial 7-1-1).

If you see someone about whom you are concerned, call the non-emergency response line at 503-823-3333 and request a welfare check.

If you see a person outside during the heat of the day who looks disoriented or confused, don’t assume that person is intoxicated. Those are also signs of heat stroke, which can be deadly. Symptoms could include increased irritability, worry and stress, stumbling or an appearance of intoxication. 

If someone’s life appears to be in danger, call 9-1-1. 

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