Looking for relief from the extreme heat expected in the Portland area this week? Local libraries in Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood and Wilsonville will be serving as cooling centers, opening their doors to anyone seeking a climate-controlled space.
The Times' news partner, KOIN 6 News, forecasts daytime high temperatures to skyrocket into the triple digits from Wednesday through Friday, with the mercury on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday also expected to reach into the 90s. Those temperatures can be hazardous to human health, especially for children and the elderly.
In Tigard, library spokeswoman Paula Walker said water and ice will be available in the lobby while the library serves as a cooling center.
"It's a place we invite people to come if they need to cool off," Walker explained.
The Tigard Public Library is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays.
In Tualatin, the library is extending its regular hours Friday, so its hours will also be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. all weekdays this week. Cool water will be available for patrons in the Tualatin Public Library lobby.
"Libraries are one of the places that people turn to in heat waves because we are air conditioned and have comfortable places to sit and that sort of thing," said Jerianne Thompson, Tualatin's library manager. "When we have extreme heat, like this week, our library goes a step farther by making cool water and possibly refreshments available in the library."
Library staff in Tualatin are also "trying to give people a little more of an option of ways they can stay entertained as well as be comfortable," Thompson said. It plans to offer family-friendly activities like movies, coloring and board games.
The planned Tuesday, Aug. 1, library program on the Tualatin Commons, which is a clown show by Michael O'Neill, will also be moved to the library itself. It starts at 7 p.m.
The Tualatin Library is also a free school lunch site for those up to age 18 this week, Thompson noted. Lunch is served at noon.
Like Tigard, the Sherwood Public Library won't be extending its hours, but manager Adrienne Doman Calkins said it is making plans to accommodate refugees from the heat.
"The air conditioning's going, as always, the water in the water faucets is cold," she said. "It's definitely a nice place to get out of the sun and cool down."
The Sherwood Library will also be moving its "Storytime in the Park" program, normally held at 11:30 a.m. Thursdays at Stella Olsen Park, to get families out of the daytime heat. For the new location, contact the library at 503-625-6688.
The Sherwood Library's regular hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, as well as Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 p.m.
In nearby Wilsonville, the library hours Monday through Saturday are normally the same as in Sherwood; however, library director Pat Duke told The Times they will be extended Wednesday through Friday due to extreme temperatures in the forecast. Hours this week are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
The Wilsonville Public Library will likely also have cups set out for water. Library staff are also looking at ways to keep patrons entertained as they take shelter from the daytime heat.
"We're thinking about doing some programming," Duke said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information on the Tualatin and Wilsonville libraries' cooling center amenities and activities.
By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor, The Times