Volunteers help vulnerable cool down, stay safe

Volunteers help vulnerable cool down, stay safe

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on July 14, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 14 at 7:49 PM

PORTLAND -- If you think your house gets hot during the warm weather, imagine living on a 10th floor apartment without air conditioning.

That’s the reality for a lot of people in the Portland metro area. And, with the potential for several days of hot weather, volunteers on Monday began checking on the community’s most vulnerable.

The volunteers with Meals on Wheels have been making sure that people along their routes are doing okay in the heat and know where they can go to cool down, if needed.

Volunteers also helped open cooling shelters across the city.

Susan Marthens’ route takes her to a couple of low income apartment buildings in downtown Portland. She’s been a volunteer with Meals on Wheels for 15 years, and to her, the job is about much more than just delivering food.

Over the years, she’s come to know the people she delivers to.

With temperatures heating up, Susan spent Monday visiting with people like Rebekah LaBar, who lives 10 stories up, in the Park Tower Apartments.

LaBar said when the temperature gets above 90 degrees, conditions become downright unbearable inside her place.

”I start thinking, ‘Oh my how am I going to make it?’ How sick am I going to get?’” she explained.

People who are able to add air conditioners to their apartments or homes have been finding that they’re at times, quite hard to find.

”We’ve been selling a lot of them, thousands of them actually. So now we’re down to our last couple hundred but we still have them in stock,” said Marvin Schaffer with Standard TV & Appliance.

Even though Standard TV and Appliance still has some in stock, many of the big box hardware stores told KGW Monday that they’ve already waiting for emergency shipments to replenish their supply.

Multnomah County Department of Human Services’ Aging and Disability Services Division (ADS) has activated its cooling center system for elderly residents. The centers are expected to remain open through Wednesday, July 16.

Here are the cooling center locations and their extended hours for elderly residents:

  • NORTHEAST PORTLAND: Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 NE 40th Ave., Portland, 503-288-8303. Sunday: 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • DOWNTOWN: Meals on Wheels People (Elm Court) 1032 SW Main St., Portland, 503-953-8204. Sunday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.- 8 p.m.
  • NORTH PORTLAND: Pioneer United Methodist Church, 7528 N. Charleston Ave., Portland. Tuesday and Wednesday 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • EAST COUNTY: Ambleside Meals on Wheels People, Multnomah County East Building, 600 NE 8th St., Gresham, 503-953 8201. Sunday, 4 p.m. -8 p.m., Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.

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