Kentucky native now living in Portland reacts to record-setting heat wave

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 12:37 PM CDT
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PORTLAND, Or. (WBKO) - A historic heat wave is bringing the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Pacific Northwest. Portland, Oregon hit 115 degrees on Monday, June 28, shattering the city’s all-time heat record for the third day in a row.

Sarah Jones is a Richmond, Kentucky native who has lived in Portland for more than a decade.

Jones said her apartment building doesn’t have air conditioning, but fortunately she invested in a portable A/C unit in the spring. “I live in an old building with south-facing windows. So back in May we had a little bit of a heat wave, just in the 90s, which is kind of rare for May, and I was like, I better get one, and I’m so glad I did because they were flying off the shelves and they were sold out all weekend.”

Jones is a graduate mentor at a Portland high school and said summer school had to be put on pause this week. “We had to close school for Monday. It made sense. We didn’t want students and staff out riding the bus at 2:00 p.m., the hottest part of the day.” She said cooling centers have opened in the city for those who need help finding more comfortable conditions, and places like libraries and some businesses have stayed open to provide air conditioning for those who don’t have it.

At the time of our interview, it was 66 degrees in Portland, which was a brief respite from the debilitating heat. “I have my window open just a little bit, just to get a little bit of a fresh air breeze, but when your home has been heated 100+ degrees a few days it’s going to take a few days for it to cool down,” said Jones. She said in the rare instance temperatures do hit triple digits in the Portland area, it’s in July or August. “Usually June is pretty mild.” Jones said some Portland residents even refer to June as “June-uary, because it’s usually still a little rainy and cold. But not this June. This is really, really hot.”

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