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Some Oregon Cities Plan Cooling Centers During The Heat Wave, Others Don't

Young girl runs through sprinkler in a backyard.
Elena Rabkina via Unsplash

Many cities along the West Coast are setting up free public spaces where people can escape from this weekend's oppressive heat. In others, people may be on their own.

This weekend people can find city-sponsored cooling centers in Medford, Talent and Ashland.

But some other small cities and counties in Southern Oregon — including Roseburg and Klamath Falls — aren’t putting resources into helping people escape the heat.

Suzanne Hurt with the city of Roseburg says people can cool off at the library until Saturday afternoon. The library isn’t open on Sunday, when the temperature could get as high as 111 degrees.

“The Fir Grove Splash Pad is another free way to cool off in Roseburg,” Hurt told JPR by email.

Although the city isn't sponsoring a cooling center, the non-profit Roseburg Senior Center is opening its doors for that purpose, starting Saturday.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Weygand says people need to take safety precautions.

“It’s not just another hot day,” Weygand says. “We’re talking about very dangerous conditions.”

Medford is expected to reach 113 degrees on Sunday, which would break its record for the hottest day in June. The current record is 111 degrees, set on June 2, 1992.

This weekend might even break Medford’s hottest day on record for any time of the year, which is currently set at 115 degrees.

Northern California is also expecting triple-digit temperatures. A spokesperson with Shasta County Public Health says the agency will consider setting up a cooling center if temperatures exceed 105 degrees over three days.

The Oregon Health Authority is telling people to find air conditioning, if possible. If not, then find some shade — especially if you're elderly or are caring for an infant under 4.

Signs of heat stroke include fever, rapid pulse, nausea or vomiting, and hot or damp skin. OHA advises people to call 9-1-1 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke.

April Ehrlich is JPR content partner at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Prior to joining OPB, she was a regional reporter at Jefferson Public Radio where she won a National Edward R. Murrow Award.