Residents head to lake, pool, beach to beat baking temperatures

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JILL REHKOPF SMITH - Rex Weller, 4, tries to pull his dad, Thomas Weller, out of the Tualatin River while mom Sarah Cain watches. The Hillsboro family found respite from the heat Saturday near Cherry Grove, in the cool water between Lee Falls and Little Lee Falls. It’s hot.

A heatwave that started to ramp up Friday is expected to last throughout the week, according to Steve Pierce of Northwest Weather Consultants in Vancouver, Wash.

“The Pacific Northwest is going to feel the heat as Mother Nature opens up the oven door in what has the potential to be the longest stretch of hot weather in several years,” Pierce said last Thursday.

Saturday, temperatures in the 90s had western Washington County residents sweltering — and trying to come up with ways to beat the heat. Runners took to the roads in the morning to get their miles in early, and folks ventured outdoors to water their rosebushes and raised garden beds as the sun began to rise in the sky.

A brief respite on Sunday — complete with thunder, dropping temperatures and a few raindrops — gave way to more sunshine by Monday.

All the hot weather means the Forest Grove Aquatic Center won’t be at a loss for business.

“Patrons have been enjoying their visits this summer, especially with the recent hot temperatures,” said Sherri Mead, aquatic supervisor for the city. “We are anticipating more busy public swims due to the next heat wave arriving, but have not had to turn anyone away.”

A couple groups weren’t able to escape mounting temperatures last Saturday, July 12.

This year’s Forest Grove Relay for Life turned out to be an especially hot time as participants walked and jogged around a steaming Neil Armstrong Middle School track, raising money for the American Cancer Society. And the annual Hagg Lake Triathlon & Duathlon, which drew more than 500 athletes to Gaston, was a hot time as NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Children frolicked in the spray park at the Forest Grove Aquatic Center Friday as temperatures began to rise. Despite a brief period of rain Sunday, this weeks weather is expected to stay in the 90- to 100-degree range.

As multiple days of 90-plus degree weather begin to take their toll, finding respite gets trickier. Here are a few ideas on keeping one’s cool as the thermometer goes crazy:

n Head for the Oregon Coast. If you do, plan on it taking a little longer than usual because of the throngs heading the same direction. Pack an ice chest in your car with cool drinks and snacks. Enjoy the scenery along Highway 26 and Highway 101 as you make your way to Seaside, Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, Newport and the tinier towns in between.

n Take a dip in the lake. A local jewel, Hagg Lake sits just southwest of Forest Grove in Gaston. Even though a new campground planned for the site won’t be open until summer 2015, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating, fishing and swimming in the lake’s blue waters. About 803,000 people visited Hagg Lake last year, 45 percent from outside Washington County.

n Swim at the aquatic center for free. Thanks to a generous donation from Papa’s Toys and the Davis family, a “community free swim” is offered at the center, 2300 Sunset Drive, every Saturday evening from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event is limited to the first 200 people, so be sure to get there early.

n Keep the kids cool. The spray park at the aquatic center is a great place for kids and their parents to frolic in the summer heat. Located beyond the indoor pool on the aquatic center property, it has 14 water features, a grassy area with picnic tables and a sun deck. The spray park is open Monday through Friday between 7:15 and 8:45 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday it’s open from 2 to 4 p.m.

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