NEWS RELEASE: Three Multnomah County daytime cooling centers reopen noon to 10 p.m. today, Tuesday, June 9

July 9, 2024

Multnomah County, Ore. (July 9, 2024) Multnomah County will continue operating three daytime cooling centers opening at noon today, Tuesday, July 9, to provide relief from the dangerous heat. The cooling centers will stay open until 10 p.m.

These three cooling centers will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9:

Multnomah County Library will continue extended hours at Central Library (801 S.W. 10th Ave., Portland), which will stay open until 9 p.m. Tuesday, with bottled water on hand, to provide additional places where people can go during the hottest parts of the day and evening. Eleven other library locations will stay open until 8 p.m. this evening; one location will be open until 6 p.m. All location hours are available on the Library website.

On Monday, July 8, the three cooling centers saw a cumulative total of 168 people use the sites, as people came and went as needed to seek relief, up from 158 on Saturday. An additional 75 people came to Central Library between 6 and 9 p.m. Monday. 

TriMet won't turn away anyone riding to or from a cooling center who cannot pay fare between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. today, July 9. Anyone needing additional transportation help should call 211 for a free ride to a cooling space.

With temperatures dropping to the low 90s, and with more significant nighttime cooling in the forecast from the National Weather Service, the three cooling centers are not planned to reopen tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10.

Although thresholds to operate cooling centers will no longer be met tomorrow, people who don’t have a cool place to be should strongly consider spending time at a cool space listed on the interactive map, which shows libraries, splash pads, pools and other locations that can offer relief from the heat.

While the heat risk to people living outside is well understood, many people don’t realize how dangerous heat is to elders, young children and people with health conditions such as heart disease. The majority of those who died in Multnomah County of extreme heat during the June 2021 heat dome and heat waves since then were alone in their own homes and either didn’t have air conditioning or had not turned it on.

The County reported yesterday three suspected heat-related deaths of Multnomah County residents and one person who was transported from outside Multnomah County to a Portland hospital, where he died. That individual was a Clackamas County resident. The County will update this information as it becomes available.

Five consecutive days of high temperatures, combined with triple-digit temperatures today, mean the cumulative risks of this heat event can be very serious.

Even after the worst of the heat dissipates, people are urged to take steps to protect themselves, including cooling their home, staying hydrated and watching for signs of heat illness. Residents should check on their loved ones and community, especially people living alone and who don’t have access to good cooling.

Cooling centers are staffed by County and State employees, as well as contracted providers including Do Good Multnomah and Cultivate Initiatives. The cooling centers provide food and water in safe, air-conditioned places to hang out. No one will be turned away and pets are welcome.

“Red day” burning restriction continues today

The Multnomah County Health Department is extending a “red day” restriction to protect public health today, July 9, due to elevated ozone levels. Wood burning is not allowed. 

Forecasts call for ground-level ozone and increased air pollution. Multnomah County ordinance requires people refrain from having fires on poor air quality days to protect health. This restriction echoes the Multnomah Fire Defense Board’s burn ban for safety, as well as the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s ozone advisory

To view restrictions and submit a complaint, visit or call 503-988-0035. Protect your health and do not add to air pollution. 

Mobile medical van provides services at cooling centers

In a new partnership between the Multnomah County Health Department and providers like Central City Concern, mobile medical vans have been visiting cooling centers to provide services to guests. The Multnomah County mobile medical van will provide care at Congregation Beth Israel (1972 N.W. Flanders St., Portland) today during cooling center hours.

Before the partnership, the level of medical care available at the County’s cooling and warming spaces was limited because the spaces are not licensed clinics. Mobile medical vans are licensed and are able to provide medical services, including wound care and medication management, right from the van.

“This partnership reduces barriers that many people face in accessing primary care services, and it provides a connection to referrals and longer-term care,” said Dr. Richard Bruno, Multnomah County Health Officer. “While we’ve been able to provide care to guests at cooling and warming centers through our Medical Reserve Corps, having a licensed clinic right outside the door increases our ability to meet people where they are, with the level of care and services they need.”

The Central City Concern vans were purchased using Supportive Housing Services Measure dollars through the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

Outreach continues across City and County

Since July 3, the Department of County Human Services has contacted at least 6,800 providers and vulnerable people in housing with information on heat safety and resources available during the heatwave. Staff have also called nearly 900 property managers with information on when to do welfare checks and to ask that they post safety information for their tenants. Staff also reached out directly to large apartment buildings in areas with higher heat risk to help property managers contact tenants.

Efforts are continuing to distribute lifesaving supplies to thousands of folks living outside all across the county today and tomorrow. There is a coordinated effort between the JOHS Outreach Coordinator and those doing the outreach and distribution ongoing. Messaging about Cooling Centers, and other important resources are being shared with these providers on a continuing basis.

From July 3 to 8, the Joint Office supply center provided outreach groups with 87,288 individual bottles of water, 8,700 electrolyte packets, 8,700 sunscreen packets, 3,480 cooling towels, 1,740 reusable drinking bottles and 1,7400 misting bottles, all of which will be distributed to people in need.

City, County and State declare states of emergency

Multnomah County has been in enhanced operations since Tuesday, July 2, to plan for the heat. This week, the County began increasing outreach to people experiencing homelessness, vulnerable clients and elders, including making contact with building managers and community-based organizations.

The County holds daily coordination calls with more than 140 staff along with partners from cities and agencies to consider opening cooling centers. Those calls include detailed briefings from the National Weather Service.

County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson on Wednesday, July 3, declared a state of emergency effective noon Friday, July 5, through noon Monday, July 8. She extended the state of emergency until Wednesday, July 10, at 10 p.m.

Mayor Ted Wheeler also declared a state of emergency for the City of Portland. The declarations provide County departments and City bureaus with increased flexibility to respond during the highest-risk heat days.

Additionally, Governor Tina Kotek declared a state of emergency on Friday, enabling greater collaboration, resources and support for counties across the state, including Multnomah County. 

Air conditioning is a key to staying safe 

People should find an air-conditioned space for even a few hours of relief — whether they are housed or houseless.

Those concerned about paying their utility bill can visit or call 211 to find assistance programs that may be available in your area.

Dr. Bruno said because we’ve had few hot days so far this year, our bodies have not yet acclimated to the heat. People working and playing outside this weekend face the highest risk of heat illness due to prolonged time in the sun, along with a higher likelihood of dehydration. He also flagged that temperatures will be even higher near artificial turf and asphalt.

Dr. Bruno advised people to drink more water and find places to cool off. Even a few hours in air conditioning can make a big difference, he said.

In 2023 alone, Multnomah County, in partnership with community-based organizations, installed over 1,200 heat pumps (for heating and cooling) for individuals and families identified as high-risk by the Department of County Human Services. In 2022, 175 heat pumps were installed. In addition, the department has distributed 6,000 cooling kits between 2022 and 2024.

The Department of County Human Services also offers a program to replace wood stoves with heat pumps for both heating and cooling. While the program is open to all, priority is given to low- and moderate-income households in specific areas. The program is also available to rental units with homeowner approval. For more information, visit

Stay informed and check on your community

If you are concerned that someone may be in distress because of the heat, you can ask how they're doing and if they need help finding a cool space.

Heat illness requires action and possibly medical attention. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If you're not comfortable approaching them, you can call the City of Portland non-emergency line at 503-823-3333 and say “welfare check.” If you see someone having a medical emergency, call 911. Hold times may be longer during the July 4 holiday weekend.