Extreme Heat in Portland Is an ‘Acute Disaster on Chronic Disaster’

P.City Country, ÖRe.-On Monday lunchtime, the temperature in Portland climbed three-digit highs, passing 104, then 106, on the way to a record high of 116 to 40 degrees above average for that time in June. Most of the city was dazed, the streets quiet and almost empty. But a block in the city’s southeast quadrant was busy with cars and people lining up at a shade tent to collect cool boxes of water, gatorade, and other supplies to bring to people on the streets and in warehouses across the city .

“We have to make sure they don’t die while they’re out there,” said Lou, a volunteer with a local charity called Defense Fund PDX. The group was founded as a bond fund during last summer’s protests against police violence and has since adapted to other needs in the city, particularly those of the 4,000 people living in Portland without a home. Lou, who asked to withhold her last name, said the group raised and spent about $ 37,000 on hotel rooms during winter ice storms. This month, as forecasts predicted life-threatening temperatures across the Pacific Northwest, Defense Fund PDX began fundraising and volunteering to distribute supplies while other mutual aid and community organizations began configuration Cooling stations.

Extreme heat has been described as “silent killer“: Its effects are often harder to see than the widespread destruction caused by cyclones, floods or forest fires, and the deaths it causes are often hidden, statistically, attributed instead to underlying health conditions such as heart disease. But heat kill more people in the United States and around the world every year than any other weather-related disaster, and as the planet warms up, heat waves like the one that swept the northwest keep getting bigger hotter, longer, and more frequent. As with other climate-related disasters, the risk of extreme heat is perceived unevenly. Not everyone can afford air conditioning; Neighborhoods that are poorer and have more colored residents tends to be hotter than whiter, more affluent neighborhoods in the same city. The elderly and those who live and work outdoors are among the most vulnerable. At least one farm worker died during the Willamette Valley, Oregon heat wave, the preliminary cause listed as “Heat”. Two men who lived on a street in Bend, Oregon were found dead over the weekend. probably from heat-related causes, one in a motor home that someone at the scene of the crime called a “microwave”.

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