July 2021 Heatwave: Cool spaces open across Multnomah County as hot weather returns

July 28, 2021

Note: The following information is for July 2021. Current information is at helpforwhenitshot.multco.us 

Two cooling centers will open and Multnomah County libraries and City of Portland Community Centers will extend their hours as temperatures near triple digits in the Portland metro region Thursday and Friday.

Check Help for When it's Hot and our map of cool spaces to find an air-conditioned spot near you, as hours and locations may change.

Please note: To limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants,  all guests and staff will be required to wear masks throughout their stay regardless of their vaccination status. If you forget to grab your own, ask for a mask when you arrive.

Cooling Centers

Open noon to 9 p.m. July 29-30

Portland Community Centers and Misting Centers

Open noon to 9 p.m. July 29-30

Libraries

Days and hours vary. Check back for updates

Short, but still concerning

Unlike the historical heatwave in June, this week’s highs are unlikely to reach much beyond 100 during the day, and temperatures are expected to drop at night, allowing bodies to recover and homes to cool. This heat event is also expected to be shorter, with temperatures dropping again by the weekend.

“And now, five weeks into summer, our bodies are more acclimated to the heat,” said Environmental Health's Brendon Haggerty. 

But that doesn’t mean this heat isn’t a concern. People with certain health conditions and people spending time outside do need to be careful, Haggerty said. 

“One thing we often see during this type of event is that people who are working outside or exercising during the heat of the day are more likely to need medical attention,” he said. “So it’s important to limit those types of activities to the cooler morning hours.”

Environmental Health recommends people still take precautions, especially during the hottest part of the day and especially people who might be more vulnerable to heat. 

Haggerty recommended that people open windows and doors when temperatures are cool overnight and into the early morning hours. Then close the house and curtains to keep the space cooler. 

Outdoors

Never to leave anyone in a parked car, even in the shade with windows cracked. 

Anyone planning to spend time outdoors should do so during the coolest times of day.

If employers have indoor duties or lighter duties, it’s a good time to assign those; For employees who need to work outdoors, employers should make sure workers have lots of water and a cool place to take breaks.

For anyone who plans time outdoors:

  • Drink more water than normal

  • Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks

  • Wear lightweight, loose and light-colored clothing

  • Take frequent breaks

Watch out for each other

Check on family, friends and neighbors who might be especially vulnerable to the heat, including seniors, people taking mental health medications and people with heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions.

People experiencing homelessness and others who must be outdoors during excessive heat are at particular risk of heat illness. 

  • Carry extra water in case you see someone who needs a drink.

  • If a person looks disoriented or confused, they might be suffering from the effects of heat. Help them move to a cooler place and consider dialing 9-1-1.

Keep pets cool

If it’s possible, bring your pets inside, if the space is cooler than outdoors.  If your animals stay outside, make sure they have shade and access to plenty of water. Consider turning on a sprinkler or filling a kiddie pool for your animals.

If you have to run errands, leave your pets at home.