Portland and Multnomah County Declare a State of Emergency for This Week’s Heat Wave

“There can be no doubt, after June, that extreme heat can kill, and we are treating these events like the health hazard they are.’’

With another dangerous heat wave about to hit the region, Multnomah County and the city of Portland have each declared a state of emergency.

That means that Portland’s response to the heat wave will be under the command of the director of the Bureau of Emergency Management and more public spaces can be converted to cooling centers. The county’s declaration also lifts budgetary restraints and prohibits price gouging.

Both orders take effect tomorrow at noon. The city’s state of emergency ends on Aug. 15 and the county’s on Aug. 16.

“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,’’ Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said in a statement. “There can be no doubt, after June, that extreme heat can kill, and we are treating these events like the health hazard they are.’’

Much of Northwest Oregon is under an excessive heat watch from tomorrow through Saturday. Over the next few days, highs are projected to reach 105 degrees. Though it’s not expected to be as intense as June’s heat wave—which killed over 60 Multnomah County residents— health and weather experts are urging extreme caution.

Twenty-four-hour cooling centers will be open from Wednesday through Saturday. TriMet won’t enforce fares. Several libraries have extended their hours, and all will distribute water bottles. More information on cooling spaces can be found here.