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'One crisis after another': Portland-area groups prepare for more 100+ degree temperatures

After multiple rounds of historically high temperatures this summer, some Oregon groups hope they are better prepared for this week's heat, with plans to save lives.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, Ore. — As the Pacific Northwest braces for another round of 100+ degree weather this week, some Portland-area organizations said they are better prepared to save lives this time.

June's historic heatwave killed more than 90 Oregonians after temperatures reached a peak of 116.

"It's extreme weather that taxes the people we're serving," said Scott Kerman, executive director Blanchet House in Old Town Portland. "It is indeed something that is deadly."

Blanchet House helps people who are homeless. This week, staff and dozens of volunteers plan to open the facility as a cooling shelter. However, Kerman said possibly even more important is outreach on the streets for people who are not able to access cool places.

"Just handing a bottle of water to somebody can really make a difference," he said.

Blanchet House will help distribute cold water as temperatures rise, and encourages others in the community to do the same for people in need.

Outreach is made trickier for organizations because of the contagious delta variant of COVID.

"It's just been one crisis after another," Kerman said.

RELATED: New data released on 96 people who died during Oregon's historic heat wave

"We have to make sure we do it really carefully," agreed Alice Busch, division chief of operations for Multnomah County Emergency Management. "Unfortunately...we've had a lot of practice with disasters over the last two years."

Multnomah County has a website called 'Help for when it's hot,' which lists locations of cooling centers and other resources. The county has collaborated with multiple community organizations and city governments in this effort.

"Make sure that we're bringing all our strengths to the table," Busch said.

For example, the City of Portland plans to set up misting stations in outdoor parks; the City of Beaverton plans to open the city library as a cooling shelter; and 211 is available anywhere for people to call and find resources.

Washington, Clackamas, and Clark counties each have their own heat-related resource pages as well.

The National Weather Service office in Portland is also hosting interactive online Q&A's for people to get ready for more heat.

"It is something I would say we need to get more used to in the next few years," said Tyler Kranz, a meteorologist with NWS Portland during a live stream Monday afternoon. 

RELATED: 'Code red for humanity' | UN climate change report issues dire warning

Heat Wave This Week

Please join Tyler Kranz, a Meteorologist with NWS Portland, to discuss the upcoming heat wave this week.

Posted by US National Weather Service Portland Oregon on Monday, August 9, 2021

Each organization emphasizes protecting people in the heat will take a community-wide effort.

"It's going to be hard for us to reach everyone," Busch said.

"Do welfare checks," encouraged Kerman.

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