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PSU Researchers Look For Heat Islands in Eugene

Trees and asphalt in downtown Eugene.
Rachael McDonald
Trees and asphalt in downtown Eugene.

Researchers from Portland State University are in Eugene Friday to find the city’s hot spots. Their study of urban “heat islands” can help planners to improve conditions during heat waves like the one we’re experiencing.

Trees and asphalt in downtown Eugene.
Credit Rachael McDonald
Trees and asphalt in downtown Eugene.

PSU urban studies and environmental science professor Dr. Vivek Shandas says heat-waves kill more people than all other natural disasters combined. Shandas and his team have done a similar study of heat islands in Portland. He’s observed abundant tree canopy and farmland in Eugene’s urban core. He knows trees can provide cooler temps…

Shandas: “One of the things we’re trying to understand is how the difference in the way we plan our cities really makes a difference to what kind of temperatures that we observe in different part of the city and with the farmland, we don’t have this kind of farmland in the Portland metro region.”

After the team gathers data, they’ll take it back to their computers at PSU. Shandas says they’ll look at factors that make some parts of the city hotter than others. He says they’ll connect the findings with demographics. The research will be posted online next month.


Portland study of heat islands


Copyright 2016 KLCC

Rachael McDonald is News Director at KLCC. She’s been with the station for more than 10 years. Previously, she established the Richland, Washington bureau for the Northwest News Network. She also worked as News Director at KAZU in Monterey, California. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting.