PORTLAND, Ore. — With the first real taste of summer heat coming this weekend, preparations were underway at a Northeast Portland warehouse Saturday morning. Dozens of Multnomah County staff volunteered to assemble cooling kits.
The kits consist of bags filled with items to help people keep cool, and they'll be distributed at events throughout the weekend as well as through county partners like Meals on Wheels.
Each kit includes a reusable water bottle, an ice tray, misting bottle, gel packs, electrolyte packets, a towel, information on available resources and tips to stay cool.
"We know that one of the most effective interventions is to make people aware of the risk to heat," said Jenny Carver, senior emergency management planner with the county.
Carver said the county has been distributing cooling kits for the past few years. Last year they gave out between 500 and 800 kits.
"This is our largest effort that we've ever done before," Carver said. "We're hoping to get 3,000 out to the community."
As the community braces for its first significant heat, the county hopes to help people in need with these cooling kits.
"So we can get them in the hands and homes of people who need them most earlier in the summer so that they can prepare," said Carver.
Multnomah County health officials said they are opening the Holgate, Central and Gresham Libraries until 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for people who need to escape the high temperatures.
Multnomah County Lead Health Officer Dr. Jennifer Vines said cooling shelters — where people can stay overnight — will not be open, because temperatures are supposed to cool overnight.