Changes to cooling centers coming Saturday; lower temps expected as outreach continues

July 30, 2021

Temperatures are expected to drop into the low 90s Saturday from today’s projected high of 99, but two cooling centers will remain open, while libraries revert to normal hours at all 15 open locations.

Chris Doll and his dog Junior came to Multnomah County East Building Cooling Center to avoid heat, July 29, 2021

“This is the plan, but we’re also continuing to watch this event today and if the forecast changes, we’re in a good position to expand operations,” said Chris Voss, Multnomah County’s director of Emergency Management. “Make sure to check our website or call 211 in the morning if you think you might want to visit a cooling center.”

Multnomah County will update hours and locations at 9 p.m. tonight, Friday, July 30 on it’s Help for When it’s Hot website. 

Please visit Help for when it’s Hot for current locations and hours: www.multco.us/help-when-its-hot

The Joint Office of Homeless Services will also be working with its funded outreach teams as well as community volunteers to ensure bottled water, cooling supplies, and information about cooling centers reaches neighbors without shelter. 

On Saturday, July 31, the Joint Office’s street outreach supply center will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in helping can make an appointment to pick up supplies. Call 503-758-6171 or 503-502-7046 on Saturday to coordinate with Joint Office staff. The supply center is located at 501 S.W. Washington Street.

Beyond cooling centers

This week the Department of County Human Services assembled about 2,000 cooling kits and has been distributing those through community organizations and case managers working with vulnerable adults.

DCHS assembled 2,000 cooling kits for our vulnerable population. From left are DCHS team: Innocent Kisanga, Yvonne Flores, Margot Woods, and a community volunteer (facing back), July 30, 2021

By Thursday evening, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, through its street outreach supply center downtown, had distributed: 

  • 808 cases of bottled water

  • 318 jugs of water

  • 980 refillable water bottles

  • 980 misting bottles

  • 6,000 packets of electrolytes

  • 1,944 cooling towels

The County’s Emergency Operations Center meanwhile provided water, cots, blankets, snacks, water, bus passes, medication and other materials to cooling centers and delivered bottled water to area libraries.

The County worked in partnership with Cultivate Initiative and the City of Portland to open up five cooling centers; about 45 guests visited the centers on Thursday.

“It’s been a tremendous opportunity to build partnerships, so we can do even more in the future. The more we can figure out now about how agencies and communities can be part of the response, the more we can prepare community organizations to do this in their communities,” said Jenny Carver, Department of County Human Services Emergency Manager. “Excessive heat, we expect. Winter weather, we expect. So building community capacity through these seasonal responses will help us plan for those big events that we’re not expecting but that we know are coming.”