NEWS RELEASE: Chair Jessica Vega Pederson declares State of Emergency beginning Friday, July 5, for dangerous heat 

July 3, 2024

For immediate release: Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Media contact:
Julie Sullivan-Springhetti,
Denis Theriault,

NEWS RELEASE: Chair Jessica Vega Pederson declares State of Emergency beginning Friday, July 5, for dangerous heat 

The emergency takes effect at noon Friday until noon Monday, July 8, in response to forecast temperatures of 100 degrees through the weekend

Multnomah County, Ore. (July 3, 2024) With hot weather forecast to reach — and exceed — 100 degrees this weekend, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson today declared a state of emergency effective from noon Friday, July 5, through noon, Monday, July 8.

The National Weather Service has declared an excessive heat warning beginning July 4. Temperatures are expected to reach 98 degrees Friday, July 5, and likely to exceed 100 degrees Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7. The forecast says that temperatures may not drop enough at night to offer needed relief. 

Such heat can be deadly for anyone spending time in spaces that aren’t air conditioned. But those temperatures are especially dangerous for people spending prolonged time outdoors, who are very young or old, or who have health conditions. 

Multnomah County has been in enhanced operations since Tuesday, 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.

The County and its partners are preparing to open cooling centers and offer other cool spaces in light of the forecast. The location and hours of operation for any cooling centers will be announced the day before the County determines the threshold has been passed. 

“We’re preparing for a long, very hot weekend, and you should, too,’’ said Chris Voss, the County’s director of Emergency Management. “We’re lining up locations for cooling centers, recruiting staff and developing plans. Everyone should be thinking about how they can keep themselves cool, and making plans to support friends and family who might need help.”

This interactive map shows places to to get cool during the day.

Dr. Richard Bruno, Multnomah County Health Officer, 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.

“I’m particularly worried about the thousands of people heading to music festivals and sporting events this weekend,’’ said Dr. Bruno. “They’ll be spending a long time outside, may have little access to shade and water, and may not recognize the risk.”

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.

“Whether you’re staying home this weekend or out and about, we need everyone to look out for one another. If you have air conditioning, now’s the time to invite older family members and friends over. Call and check on friends and seniors who may be at increased risk of heat-related illness. ‘’

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 non-emergency line for a welfare check 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.

Stay informed: 

Declaration of Emergency Due to Extreme Heat (146.61 KB)

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