Dangerous heat forecast to continue as governor declares emergency

A “dangerously persistent heat wave” will continue to put Salem residents at risk in the coming days as temperatures are forecast to climb above 100 through Tuesday.

And there won’t be much relief at night with temperatures dropping to the mid-60s only for a brief period before sunrise. Salem didn’t get below 75 degrees until about midnight on the Fourth of July.

READ IT: Excessive heat warning

The circumstances prompted Gov. Tina Kotek on Friday, July 5, to declare an “extreme heat emergency” to heighten awareness of the threat.

“Both the record-breaking temperatures and the duration of heat present a clear and present danger, particularly for children, elders, people with disabilities, and people who work outside,” Kotek said in her statement. “I am urging Oregonians to take every precaution and check on your family and neighbors.”

The American Red Cross in Oregon joined in the warning.

“Extreme heat is deadly and kills more people than any other weather event,” according to spokesman Darrell Fuller. “In addition to that, the climate crisis is making extreme heat events more frequent, more severe, and last longer.”

The weather circumstance is rare for the Salem area. Only four times in the history of National Weather Service records has the community endured four days of back-to-back 100-degree weather. The most recent was last year. Other such heat waves were in 1941, 1977, 1981 and 1994.

Salem has never recorded five consecutive days of 100-degree heat, and forecasters say that’s not likely to happen in the coming days.

Noah Alviz, meteorologist with the Portland office of the National Weather Service, said the heat wave is the result of a “very big high-pressure ridge” dominating the West Coast. “This one’s a pretty unusual one.”

In Salem, fountains at a number of city parks are a favorite way for families to cool off.

Several organizations are operating as cooling centers as well, providing refuge from the heat.

For those with wheels, the weather service has some advice: “The coast will be the place to go to escape the heat this weekend.”


•Do not rely only on electric fans during extreme heat. When temperatures are in the high 90s, fans may not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

•Spending a few hours each day in air conditioning can help prevent heat illness.

•If you do not have air conditioning or if there is a power outage, find locations where you can stay cool. For example, a public library, shopping mall, or a public cooling center. Plan how you will get there.

Newport is forecast to be 77 on Saturday and even cooler in coming days.

Salem, meantime, is forecast to reach 103 by Tuesday.

Then, Alviz said, conditions improve as the system bearing the hot weather starts shifting east. That should droip high temperatures starting Wednesday down to the 90s.

Until then, according to the latest weather service forecast, the concern “is that temperatures will be slow to cool off each night, with urban and suburban areas only dipping below 70 degrees for a few hours (if that) before heating back up the next morning.”

In anticipation of the weather, the Oregon Department of Emergency Management earlier this week activated the state Emergency Coordination Center and state officials urged residents to take advantage of cooling centers.

State officials said a call to 211 any hour can put people in touch with information on cooling centers and other help. Details by county also are available at a special state website and the city of Salem continues to update its list of available cooling shelters.

“Our team is ready to answer questions about heat-related resources, cooling centers, and transportation options,” said Kerry Hoeschen, state emergency management director in charge of the 211 system. “We’ve also increased our staffing levels to ensure timely responses to calls.”

Besides cooling centers, two Salem organizations are giving away water over the weekend – Seed of Faith Ministries at 1248 Winter St. N.E. and CRAWL at 853 Medical Center Dr. N.E., according to city officials.

ARCHES, the local services organization, is also deploying outreach teams daily from 8:30 a.m. -7 p.m. Teams will provide water, electrolytes and other supplies. They can also assess people for heat-related illness and offer transportation to cooling centers.

(HAVE INFORMATION TO SHARE? Email Editor Les Zaitz: [email protected])

Where to cool off:

Cooling centers:

Kroc Center, 1865 Bill Frey Dr. N.E.

Friday and Saturday, 1-9 p.m., and Sunday, 1-6 p.m.

Located in “The Hub” community room. Air conditioning, movies, cold drinks and activities for all ages will be provided for free. People can reach it by Cherriots Route 23. No pets are allowed.

ARCHES Day Center, 615 Commercial St. N.E.

Friday-Sunday 9 a.m.- 7 p.m. The center will stay open until 8 p.m. on days when the temperature exceeds 95.

The day center serves unsheltered people and is open to anyone, with pets welcome. Water and snacks provided, along with help to meet long-term goals like housing or health care.

The organization is also deploying outreach teams daily from 8:30 a.m. -7 p.m. when temperatures are above 90 degrees. Teams will provide water, electrolytes and other supplies. They can also assess people for heat-related illness and offer transportation to cooling centers.

The Drop-In, 1255 Broadway St. N.E., Suite 110

Friday-Sunday, 2-7 p.m.

Cooling for youth age 11-17, and 18-year-olds enrolled in school or a GED program.

Woodburn Cooling Center, 1560 Hardcastle Ave., Woodburn

Thursday-Sunday, 12-7 p.m.

Santiam Outreach Community Center, 280 NE. Santiam Blvd. Mill City

Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (extended to 7 p.m. if temperatures are above 95 degrees)


Salem Public Library

Main branch: 585 Liberty St. S.E., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. -5 p.m.

West Salem Branch: 395 Glen Creek Rd. N.W., Saturday 12-5 p.m.

While not an official cooling center, the library has air conditioning and drinking fountains and is open to the public.

Splash pads:

Splash pads will also be open this weekend as an option to cool down outside at city parks. See a list of parks and hours here or below.

Englewood Park
1260 19th Street N.E.
12-8 p.m.

Fairmount Park
650 Rural Street S.
12-8 p.m.

Northgate Park
3575 Fairhaven Avenue N.E.
12:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.

Riverfront Park
200 Water Street N.E.
10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

River Road Park
3045 River Road N.
10 a.m. – 8: p.m.

Wes Bennett Park
2200 Baxter Road S.E.
12-8 p.m.

West Salem Park
265 Rosemont Avenue N.W.
12–8 p.m.

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Les Zaitz is editor and CEO of Salem Reporter. He co-founded the news organization in 2018. He has been a journalist in Oregon for nearly 50 years in both daily and community newspapers and digital news services. He is nationally recognized for his commitment to local journalism. He also is editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in Vale, Oregon.