Multnomah County and City of Portland each declare a state of emergency for upcoming heat

August 10, 2021

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Mayor Ted Wheeler each declared a state of emergency for Multnomah County and the City of Portland today as another round of dangerous heat is forecast to bake the region from Aug. 11 to Aug. 14.

With temperatures expected to reach 104 degrees, the Chair’s declaration authorizes Multnomah County Emergency Management to take “all necessary steps’’ to coordinate the response and recovery. The order prohibits price gouging in the County, and allows the County to suspend certain purchasing, personnel and administrative rules to speed the response. It begins Wednesday at noon and expires Aug. 16.

The City of Portland’s declaration places the city’s response under unified command led by the Director of the Bureau of Emergency Management. It authorizes the director to appropriate community centers and other public buildings for use as cooling centers, and authorizes additional resources, overtime and financial resources. It is in effect between noon on Aug. 11 and 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15.

“This tool gives us the flexibility to respond to the heat wave and to alert everyone that heat is dangerous especially for isolated older adults, people who work outdoors, children and pets,’’ said Chair Deborah Kafoury. “There can be no doubt after June that extreme heat can kill and we are treating these events like the health hazard they are.’’

“This emergency declaration highlights the reality that climate change is hitting closer to home and causing significant harm to Portlanders,” stated Mayor Wheeler. “The time to take the climate crisis seriously was years ago. These extreme heat events demand everyone’s attention – and action immediately.”

The County and City have been working closely to plan and prepare for the event. Today they announced the opening of cooling centers, cooling spaces and other resources that will be available across the community.  

For the latest information on where to find cooling centers, extended library hours and misting stations, visit Help for When it’s Hot, as hours and locations may change.  

Multnomah County’s state of emergency declaration.

The City of Portland’s state of emergency declaration.

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