Record heat drives many to water in Portland metro

Oregon

The Blanchet House is taking donations of new and gently used water bottles for those in need

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Record-high heat engulfed the Portland metro area on Tuesday, prompting many people to seek out the water.

At the Portland International Airport, temperatures climbed to 95 degrees — beating the previous record set in 1970 by one degree. Troutdale, Hillsboro, Salem and Vancouver also broke heat records set in the 1970s, according to the National Weather Service.

To beat the heat, some families headed to interactive fountains across Portland, including the Keller Fountain, Jamison Square, McCoy Park and Salmon Street Springs. Some kids ran through the water while others dipped their toes. Two interactive fountains are currently closed for repairs: Teacher’s Fountain at Director Park and Holladay Park.

City officials say splash pads won’t open until Friday, June 11. They’ll be open daily through Sept. 6 between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Splash pads & interactive fountains

Staying well hydrated is especially important when temperatures climb.

“If you and your family are going to be out, take the time for breaks, take the time to be inside or in the shade and just be mindful that the heat can take a toll on your body,” said Brandon Paxton, the battalion chief at Clackamas Fire.

The Blanchet House handed out water bottles and refilled reusable bottles for those who don’t have access to clean drinking water. The organization planned to continue giving out water on Wednesday.

“We haven’t built up our supply yet,” said Executive Director Scott Kerman. “It’s taken a lot of us by surprise and so normally we would like to have a large supply of reusable water bottles and plastic water bottles and we just don’t have that supply right now.”

The Blanchet House is accepting donations of new or gently used reusable bottles at its 310 NW Glisan Street location in Portland’s Old Town. Water misters are also needed and can be purchased from the Blanchet House’s Amazon wishlist.

“It’s been very busy lately, I think when the weather gets nicer we tend to get busier anyway and we know people are coming to us, asking for water. It’s hard to find fresh water around the city right now,” said Kerman.

Multnomah County officials say the region hasn’t yet met the threshold to open cooling centers.

Paxton encouraged people to check in on neighbors, friends and family members to make sure they’re safe in the heat and have what they need. He also shared some reminders about keeping children and pets safe by never leaving them in a hot car.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, it can be really warm in there so really take the steps to not put your pets or kids in those positions,” he said.

Paxton also wants people to be extra cautious with any activities involving flames.

“Backyard burn season technically is open for a couple more weeks but given the high heat and relatively low humidity so the moisture content within the fuels there’s an increased risk of fire danger,” he said. Paxton added that recreational fires are still permitted but the ban on backyard debris burning “outside the DEQ burn boundary” went into effect on Tuesday.

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