Mid-Willamette Valley communities are establishing cooling centers to help residents escape from extreme heat this weekend, with some facilities prioritizing services for senior citizens, who can be more at risk for heat-related illnesses.
The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for much of Oregon from 10 a.m. Saturday to 11 p.m. Monday.
The agency’s forecast as of Thursday afternoon calls for a high of 93 degrees on Friday for Albany and Corvallis, followed by a top temperature of 102 degrees on Saturday, 106 degrees on Sunday, and 97 degrees on Monday. That National Weather Service predicts the high to drop to 90 degrees on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Overnight lows also are expected to be in the mid-60s on Saturday and Sunday night.
The all-time high for the Albany and Corvallis areas is 108 degrees set on Aug. 10, 1981 at Oregon State University’s Hyslop Research Farm, which sits about halfway between Albany and Corvallis on Highway 20.
The Corvallis Community Center, 2601 N.W. Tyler Ave., will operate a cooling shelter with air conditioning, water, ice and snacks from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, according to a Benton County news release. Seniors will get priority at this location.
An additional Corvallis cooling shelter will be at the Men’s Cold Weather Shelter, 211 S.E. Chapman Place, and it will operated from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Misters, water, ice snacks, fans and shade will be available.
Benton County is working to set up cooling center locations in Alsea, Monroe and Philomath, and more information will be released as those are established, the news release states.
With Benton County in Oregon’s lower risk category, its cooling shelters will be limited to 50% capacity. Distancing protocols of 6 feet for those indoors will be followed, and those who use indoor shelters must wear a face covering. No volunteers or supplies are needed for these cooling centers, according to the Benton County news release.
For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/BentonCoGovCoolingCenters.
In Albany, a cooling center for senior residents will be offered at the main branch of the Albany Public Library, 2450 14th Ave. S.E., From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Those who use the center should use the parking lot on the 14th Avenue side of the building and the marked entrance on the east side of the parking lot due to road construction on Davidson Street Southeast.
C.H.A.N.C.E. Albany, 231 Lyon Street S., also is running a cooling center on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Water and snacks will be available, according to the city of Albany’s news release.
The Lebanon Soup Kitchen, at 170 E. Grant St. in First Christian Church, will have a cooling station that will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., according to a news release from Lebanon Community Schools. The district has cancelled its summer school program on Monday for all grades, including academic and enrichment activities. Residents will be notified of any changes past Monday.
The River Center in Lebanon, 3000 S. Santiam Highway, also will operate a cooling center on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Nancy Brewer, interim city manager, in a brief interview.
Farmers markets in both Albany and Corvallis also will close one hour early on Saturday, and hours will now be from 9 a.m. to noon, according to a news release.
The hours reduction for Saturday will allow both vendors and customers to avoid the worst of the heat.
Kyle Odegard can be contacted at 541-812-6077 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter via @KyleOdegard.