County, city issue emergency declarations ahead of heat, cooling shelters planned for mid-week

July 24, 2022

Multnomah County and the City of Portland have issued emergency declarations ahead of a long stretch of high temperatures this week. Officials are planning to open overnight cooling shelters as soon as Tuesday, in addition to providing other cooling options.

The National Weather Service this weekend issued an excessive Heat Watch beginning Monday, June 25, through Friday, warning of dangerously hot conditions with temperatures that could potentially exceed 100 degrees for three or more days in the row. Overnight lows are expected in the mid to upper 60s, providing little relief for those without air conditioning.

Outreach teams and mutual aid groups have distributed 28,830 bottles of water in the past five days, ahead of this coming week's heatwave.

The average low for July is about 58 degrees, but forecasters say it’s possible overnight lows next week may not even drop below 70 on certain nights. Portland has only registered six nights in the past 10 years when lows did not drop below 70, according to data from the National Climatic Data Center. Five of those were last year during the June heat dome emergency and August heat wave.

“This heat wave is going to last for several days. And with little relief at night, the risks are going to be compounded,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “We've been preparing for this event, getting cooling spaces ready and getting supplies, including cooling units and survival gear, to those most in need. It's not too late to make a plan and to check on your neighbors and loved ones.”

“The City of Portland is preparing to protect our most vulnerable residents during this approaching heat wave, and are working with our regional partners to ensure that there is a place for everyone at a cooling center,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Start getting prepared now, and don’t forget to check on your neighbors.” 

Cool Spaces

The City and County are preparing overnight cooling shelters beginning Tuesday, and select library branches will also have extended hours. Details about those locations will be released this week. But until then, people can visit other spaces to get a break from the heat. 

Many libraries are open until 8 p.m. Monday:

Find those and other cool community spaces near you on our interactive cool spaces map:


Beginning Monday, and for the extent of the emergency declaration, Trimet will not turn away anyone riding to a cool place who cannot afford to pay fare. TriMet asks riders to let their driver know they are headed to a cool place.

People and dogs splash in a fountain at Peninsula Park in June 2022.
When riding transit during extreme heat, riders will want to plan extra time and check before traveling, as there may be heat-related delays to service.

Anyone who needs transportation support to a cool space can also dial 2-1-1.

Take Care

Health officials are making three recommendations today, ahead of next week’s heat:

Reach out: Who do you know who is older, lives alone and may not have a working air conditioning? Of those who died during last year’s heat waves, 78% were 60 or older; 71% lived alone. Only 10 had AC units, 7 of which were malfunctioning or unplugged. Make a plan today to help these people get breaks from the heat next week. And plan to check back in on the, frequently, until temperatures drop.

Prepare food today: Who wants to boil or bake indoors when it’s sweltering outside? During the height of the oncoming heat, avoid using your oven or stove and ditch hot foods and heavy meals. Today is a good time to plan for the heat by cooking your meals now. That way, when the hot weather sets in, all you need to do is reheat meals in the microwave, or simply choose foods that don't need a heat source. 

Open your windows: Sleep with the windows open tonight, or set an alarm to wake up when the temperatures outside are cooler than indoors. Keep up that schedule until temperatures drop.

Outreach Continuing

Multnomah County’s Department of County Human Services over the weekend continued to install air conditioning units in the homes of vulnerable clients, as part of a long-term effort to better prepare clients who are low-income and live in urban heat islands. The units going in now – 92 through Saturday – are part of a spring purchase of about 180 units. 

The Board voted in June to approve a one-time program offer that will allow DCHS to purchase and install up to 1,000 units during the 2022-23 fiscal year that started July 1. Currently, this service is only available to Aging, Disability and Veterans Services and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division clients. 

The Joint Office of Homeless Services this week will continue distributing hot weather supplies to people living outside through its supply distribution center. Among the supplies outreach teams and mutual aid groups have distributed since Tuesday are 28, 830 bottles of water, 4,000 electrolyte packets, 1,846 cooling towels, 820 refillable bottles and 820 misting bottles.

Bookmark these links

2-1-1 info: Call to find cool spaces nearest you, learn cooling centers open, and for transportation support.

National Weather Service: Check the forecast and plan outdoor activities for the coolest times of day.

Cool places in Multnomah County: Find a library, community center, pool or splash pad near you. 

Cool places in Clackamas County: Find cool spaces in Clackamas County.

Cool places in Washington County: Find cool spaces in Washington County.