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24-hour cooling centers provide escape from the heat this weekend

Cooling centers are located in buildings with air conditioning and they are open to anyone in need of a place to stay cool.

PORTLAND, Ore. — For people living on the streets, the heat wave this weekend could become deadly. There are a few cooling centers operating right now to help those most vulnerable in the community.

Ahead of the record-breaking heat, Multnomah County opened three 24-hour cooling centers Friday afternoon to people and their pets. The facilities are open to people who live outside or those who may not have air conditioning or power at home. 

The biggest cooling center is at the Oregon Convention Center. It not only provides a cool place inside, but also meals and mats or cots to sleep on.

"Being that I’m homeless having these things, all these three things are nice to have available," said Jessi, who is staying at the convention shelter. 

RELATED: Places to escape the heat this weekend

When KGW stopped by on Saturday, the fire department was set up to give COVID-19 shots to those who wanted one. 

Mohammed Bader with Multnomah County said over 100 people had come through the shelter so far.

“People are able to, if they wish, they can stay here all day," said Bader "Sometimes they go outside, walking around the neighborhood but they come back here.”

There are other cooling centers at Arbor Lodge on N. Lombard and the Sunrise Center in Gresham on E. Burnside.

The Sunrise Center has a shower truck and provides basic health screenings along with mats and meals. Nearly 50 people have taken advantage of the cooling center's resources. 

Jessica Perry arrived at the Sunrise Center Friday and said she was able to take a shower. Perry usually lives outside and said she is grateful for the help. 

"They don’t have to be here, they don’t have to be opened we could be stuck out here trying to beat the heat in the shade, which is not very cool."

The cooling centers are expected to remain open until Tuesday, but the county is in desperate need of volunteers to help operate them

If you would like to volunteer at Oregon Convention Center or Arbor Lodge, you can sign up online. Volunteers must be 18 and older and social service experience is helpful. 

RELATED: 'We know that heat kills': Multnomah County to open cooling shelters during heat wave

RELATED: Portland breaks all-time heat record

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