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Portland metro libraries offer places to cool off during expected weekend heat

Cooling shelters where people can stay overnight will not be opening in Multnomah County, according to health officials.

PORTLAND, Ore. — With potentially dangerous heat approaching the Portland metro area this weekend, 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.

"Our approach right now is to make people know where the public spaces are where they can cool off during the hottest hours on Sunday and then assuming the overnight temperatures are going to be giving us all a break," Vines said.

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City of Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty said that anyone who needs to cool off during the day should head to the public library there. The Beaverton Community Center will also be open for adults who need somewhere to sleep overnight on Saturday and Sunday from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m.

"We're going to be watching and paying attention to the forecast that's coming to us. If it does get too hot then we will look at all our resources," Beaty said. 

In Clark County, health officials are also encouraging people to visit local libraries if they need to cool down.

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Places like Happy Valley Library and the Milwaukee Community Center in Clackamas County will also be open to act as cooling centers.

Even though the libraries are available while the sun is up, some Portland residents without air conditioning said it would be nice to have a place open overnight, which only Beaverton currently has plans to provide.

"If it's going to be 90s, it will be at least 100 or better in my apartment," a man named Steve told KGW. "I'm on the south side so the sun is in my window more than normal."

People can also call 2-1-1 if they need to find transportation options in order to reach a cooling center in the Portland metro area.

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