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The Skanner
Published: 31 July 2017

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, including the Portland metropolitan area, Tuesday through Friday of this week.

In an advisory issued Monday, the NWS predicts temperatures will reach 100 Tuesday, climb to between 104 and 107 degrees Wednesday and stay near the century mark Thursday and Friday. It’s likely Wednesday temperatures will match or exceed the hottest temperatures ever recorded.

Multnomah County will open cooling centers beginning Tuesday, Aug. 1 and remain open through at least Monday, Aug. 7 at the locations listed below. Centers may remain open beyond this date if temperatures remain above 90 degrees. All cooling centers will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.

  • Multnomah County Walnut Park Building, 5325 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland
  • Multnomah County East Building, 600 NE 8th St., Gresham
  • Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Ave., Portland. This center will be closed Saturday, Aug. 5.

Transportation to cooling centers can be arranged by calling Ride Connection at 503-226-0700. Advance reservations are encouraged. All rides are free of charge.

Pets and children are welcome at all three cooling center locations. Each location also will have activities including board games and movies. Snacks and water also are available.

Washington County Emergency Management has also compiled a list of places to stay cool in Washington County this week.

If you wish to receive an email alert when cooling centers open, you can sign up here. You may also call the county helpline at at Multnomah County Aging, Disability and Veterans’ Services – (503) 988-3646 or 711 (for the hearing-impaired). You can also call 211 info to find resources.

The Skanner will update its website with more information on the local response to the heat wave as it becomes available. 

Multnomah County also includes resources for coping with excessive heat on its website. It the following advice for preventing and addressing heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you are thirsty. Talk to your doctor first if you are on water pills.
  • Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.
  • Take a cool shower or bath.
  • Use air conditioning or a fan.
  • Don’t use a fan to blow extremely hot air on yourself; use it create cross-ventilation.
  • Wear lightweight and loose clothing.
  • Avoid using your stove or oven.
  • Check in on elders and vulnerable neighbors during warm weather, twice a day if possible.
  • Never leave a person, child or a pet in a hot car.
  • Check regularly on how babies and toddlers, seniors, people taking mental health medications and people with heart disease or high blood pressure are doing.
  • Invite a friend to a splash pad, movie, a mall or museum.
  • Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
  • Rest often in shady areas.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Use sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on their labels) and reapply as directed.
  • Consider packing extra bottles of water – either for you and your family or for anyone who looks like they need to drink something.

Signs of Heat-Related Illness

If you believe someone has heat stroke or heat exhaustion, get them to a cool, shaded place immediately and provide water. If symptoms persist, or the person loses consciousness, call 911.

Heat stroke symptoms include:

  • High body temperature
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Throbbing headache
  • Seizures, coma

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Heavy sweating
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Slightly elevated body temperature

The Oregon Humane Society cautions pet owners to walk dogs in the morning or evening, and not to let dogs ride in an uncovered pickup bed during the day, as the heated metal can burn their paws. Pets should not be left in outside unattended in high heat. Animals experiencing heat stroke will become restless or lethargic, vomit or become clumsy; if your pet experiences these symptoms, contact your veterinarian.

An Oregon law that went into effect last month protects members of the public from liability for damage to vehicles in which children or animals are left unattended.

This story has been updated from an earlier version to include information about cooling sites in Multnomah and Washington Counties. 

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