PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A truckload of air conditioning units from the Oregon Health Authority arrived at Portland Open Bible Community Pantry Monday, a drop point for distribution to other non-profits to help people in need avoid the dangers connected with this summer’s heat wave.

The City of Portland hired the non-profit Earth Advantage to handle buying and distributing units to other community non-profits. Earth Advantage reports 796 air conditioning units have been installed, but 1320 are still sitting in their warehouse.

KOIN Coverage: PNW July Heatwave

Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio at a press conference, July 25, 2022 (KOIN)
Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio at a press conference, July 25, 2022 (KOIN)

With so many units just sitting in a warehouse, KOIN 6 News asked Commissioner Carmen Rubio, who is in charge of the heat response program, why they’re just sitting there.

“The good news is we’ve drastically stepped up the distribution,” Rubio said Monday. “We have greatly expanded our partnership. We understand there was some supply chain issues. But those units are well on their way into the community right now.”

OHA said 500 of their units have gone out. KOIN 6 News asked about other details — how many have been purchased and are on-hand — but has not yet heard back.

Heat Response Program Dashboard

The Portland Open Bible Community Pantry said they are recruiting volunteers to help with the installations.

It does take time to get the units out and install them. But it’s a heat emergency, and no one wants a repeat of 2021, when 69 people died in Multnomah County during the heat dome. Most of those were over 60 and living alone, and almost all did not have air conditioning.