Region tries to stay cool as Mother Nature cranks up the heat
Wilsonville residents looking for relief from this week's heat wave can grab a ride on a SMART bus.
The city's transit agency, South Metro Area Regional Transit, will operate a "cooling bus" Tuesday through Friday from 1 to 6:30 p.m. with air conditioning and ice water for commuters at the Central transit center, 9699 S.W. Barber St. (www.RideSmart.com)
• Washington County's interactive map of cooling centers:
• Clackamas County cooling centers:
• Multnomah County's interactive map of cooling centers:
It's one of the ways local governments, civic centers and private groups are helping Portland-area residents beat the heat as Mother Nature cranks up the temperatures into triple digits. Dozens of public buildings, libraries and other facilities are being turned into cooling centers around the region. Events and public markets are being canceled or delayed. And, of course, park districts' swimming pools and splash pads are attracting big crowds.
Portland-area residents face a four-day heat wave, and the National Weather Service says the region could see record-breaking 105- to 107-degree temperatures before what it says could be the longest heat wave since 2009 blows east early next week.
A thermal trough building over the Willamette Valley is responsible for the heat, according to the weather service.
The heat is also slowing TriMet's MAX trains, which have to reduce their speeds when temperatures hit 90 or higher to avoid damage to overhead electrical lines and light-rail tracks.
BPA expects record demand
The Bonneville Power Administration, which provides the region's electrical power and transmission systems, says it anticipates this week's heat wave demands will break BPA's record for peak summertime electricity consumption.
The BPA summertime record was set on July 16, 2014. During that week, when the mercury soared, air conditioners and fans were humming and electricity peaked at 7,861 megawatts at 6 p.m. On a typical 80-degree day, electricity consumption may be 600 MW less. (One MW can power more than 700 Northwest homes.)
"As we take a number of steps BPA-wide to get ready, it's also important to note that in the utility business, unforeseen issues can emerge at any time," said Janet Herrin, BPA's chief operating officer. "The goal is to be as prepared as possible so if something does occur we can quickly restore delivery of power where needed to meet demand, whether from wholesale power generated at federal dams or power coming from other sources."
BPA sells wholesale electricity from 31 federal dams and one nuclear plant to 142 electric utilities, serving millions of consumers and businesses in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Western Montana and parts of California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. It has more than 15,000 circuit miles of lines and 260 substations.
Portland General Electric says it is preparing for the record-breaking heat with all its generating stations operating and its dispatchable standby generation at the ready. PGE serves about 1.8 million commercial and residential customers across the region, from parts of Columbia County south to Marion and Yamhill counties.
PGE crews also are prepared to handle power outages if the local grid becomes strained by demand for air conditioning. Utility officials said it would use infrared monitoring of distribution operations to head off potential problems. Extra cooling systems have been activated on essential distribution equipment, and PGE is preparing a command center if needed, similar to ways the utility responds to outages during winter storms.
Multnomah County tries to cool off
Emergency cooling centers are frequently opened by governments and nonprofit organizations when temperatures climb. An interactive map for those in Multnomah County can be found at tinyurl.com/jkzdjlt.
In addition, Multnomah Count announced Monday it was opening three cooling centers from Tuesday to at least Monday, Aug. 7. They will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and from 2 to 8 p.m. on weekends.
• Multnomah County Walnut Park Building 5325 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland
• Multnomah County East Building 600 N.E. Eighth St., Gresham
• Hollywood Senior Center 1820 N.E. 40th Ave., Portland
Portland's public fountains, swimming pools and splash pads are also open to provide some cool spots.
• Creston Pool, 4454 S.E. Powell Blvd., (503) 823-3672
• Grant Pool, 2300 N.E. 33rd Ave., (503) 823-3674
• Montavilla Pool, 8219 N.E. Glisan St., (503) 823-3675
• Peninsula Pool, 700 N. Rosa Parks Way, (503) 823-3677
• Pier Pool, 9341 N. St. Johns Ave., (503) 823-3678
• Sellwood Pool, 7951 S.E. Seventh Ave., (503) 823-3679
• Wilson Pool, 1151 S.W. Vermont Ave., (503) 823-3680
• Columbia Pool, 7701 N. Chautauqua Blvd., (503) 823-3669
• East Portland Pool, 740 S.E. 106th Ave., (503) 823-3450
• Matt Dishman Pool, 77 N.E. Knott St., (503) 823-3673
• Mt. Scott Pool, 5530 S.E. 72nd Ave., (503) 823-3183
• Southwest Pool, 6820 S.W. 45th Ave. (503) 823-2840
Park Splash Pads
• Colonel Summers Park splash pad, under construction, expected to open this month.
• Columbia Park and Annex, N. Lombard Streer and Woolsey Avenue
• Elizabeth Caruthers Park, 3508 S.W. Moody Ave.
• Essex Park, S.E. 79th Avenue and Center Street
• Farragut Park, N. Kerby Avenue and Farragut Street
• Grant Park, N.E. 33rd Avenue and U.S. Grant Place
• Irving Park, N.E. Seventh Avenue and Fremont Street
• Kenton Park, 8417 N. Brandon Avenue
• Khunamokwst Park, 5200 N.E. Alberta St.
• McCoy Park, N. Trenton Street and Newman Avenue
• Northgate Park, N. Geneva Avenue and Fessenden Street
• Peninsula Park, 700 N. Rosa Parks Way
• Pier Park, N. Lombard Street and Bruce Avenue
• Raymond Park, S.E. 118th Avenue and Raymond Street
• Woodlawn Park, N.E. 13th Avenue and Dekum Street
Fountains you can play in
• Dawson Park, N. Stanton Street and Williams Avenue
• Director Park, 815 S.W. Park Ave.
• Holladay Park, N.E. 11th Avenue and Holladay Street
• Jamison Square, 810 N.W. 11th Ave.
• Stark Street Island Park's Rose Pedal Fountain, S.E. 106th Avenue and Stark Street
• Waterfront Park's Bill Naito Legacy Fountain, by Saturday Market, near the Burnside Bridge
• Waterfront Park's Salmon Springs Fountain, Naito Parkway between S.W. Harrison Street and N.W. Glisan
(Splash pads around the city are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and fountain hours mirror park hours.)
Downtown Portland's Poet's Beach is open and staffed by lifeguards each day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Several of Portland Parks and Recreation's classes and camps have been canceled, including Fitness in the Park classes planned through Thursday.
Recyclers, haulers start early
Garbage haulers and recyclers are asking people to put their curbside bins out overnight as Waste Management crews plan to hit the road early to beat the heat. In Portland, collection companies will get an early start on their daily runs, Wednesday through Friday.
Trucks could be on the road well before their usual 6 a.m. start, city officials say.
"We are asking our residential customers to help keep our drivers safe by placing carts at the curb the night before," said Steve Wolfe, district manager for Waste Management-Portland. "Our drivers work 10- to 11-hour days. Allowing drivers to start collection early will get them off the streets earlier will reduce the potential for heat-related illnesses."
Lake Oswego workers look for shade
Regardless of whether the heat sets a record or not, it was so hot in Lake Oswego this week that Republic Services said it would begin collecting garbage at 5 a.m. to keep crews cool and prevent their trucks from overheating.
On the Wizer Block in downtown Lake Oswego, project officials say crews working on The Windward will try to stay hydrated and plan to find shade as much as possible. The same is true for workers who were coating roads with slurry all around the city.
Classes through the Community School and at the Lake Oswego School District's pool continued as scheduled, but some of the LOSD's fields were closed from Tuesday through the end of the week. "Because of the heat, we will be closing the turf fields to school and public programs," said Christine Moses, executive director of communications. "When the heat is over 90 degrees, we ask people to not use the fields. Temps range from 5 to 10 degrees higher on those turf fields."
Wednesday night's Sounds of Summer concert in Westlake Park was scheduled to take the stage as planned, although music lovers were urged to bring umbrellas, spray bottles and lots of liquids. Jan Wirtz, the recreation supervisor for Lake Oswego Parks & Rec, said most of the department's daytime camps, classes and lessons also were not affected.
All of the evening playoff games for the city's adult slow-pitch softball league were canceled, as was the Wednesday night drop-in basketball session at Palisades and the Thursday night Skyhawks mini-camp.
Wilsonville's Rotary Club canceled its popular summer concert for Thursday. And CREST, the Center for Research in Environmental Sciences and Technologies (part of West Linn-Wilsonville School District), canceled its outdoor day camps and programs this week.
West Linn's Wednesday afternoon farmers market also was canceled because of the heat.
Outdoor burning bans
Fire districts across the region also banned outdoor burning during the heat wave. The ban includes campfires, fire pits, yard debris, agricultural burning and permits issued for open burning. Outdoor barbecuing is still allowed, but citizens are urged to be cautious and to safely dispose of briquette ashes.
Similar burn bans were issued for local state forests.
In Washington County, road crews warn that hot asphalt could "bleed," making roads slippery with a shiny, oily film.
"Pavement bleeding can occur on chip seal road surfaces, and it starts to be a concern when we have a number of days with temperatures of 95 degrees and above," said Keith Lewis, Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation operations superintendent. "If we have three to four days of extreme heat, we start to watch for it."
Salvation Army cooling centers
The Salvation Army opened several of its facilities as cooling centers beginning Tuesday. The Portland Moore Street, 5325 N. Williams Ave., will be open from noon to 8 p.m. through Friday.
The Portland Tabernacle, 1712 N.E. Sandy Blvd. will hand out water and juice-pops 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The senior center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Friday.
The Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter, 30 S.W. Second Ave., hand out bottles of water and open its dorms at 4 p.m. accommodate more women in the day space.
The Salvation Army Administrative Headquarters, 8495 S.E. Monterey Ave. in Happy Valley, will open as a cooling center throughout the day.