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Record-breaking C.O. heat wave due: How to stay cool, and why it’s a struggle for some

(Update: Adding video, comments from Red Cross, food truck owner cooling center providers)

Much of the Northwest is expected to bake for close to a week

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A record heat wave incoming to Central Oregon is causing some to prepare for heat safety and search for spots to stay cool.

NewsChannel 21 met Thursday with PJ Johnson, a Red Cross spokeswoman, who said the biggest keys to staying safe are drinking water and staying hydrated.

Johnson recommended wearing loose clothing and avoiding exercise in the hottest parts of the day.

She said if you have air conditioning, try to stay inside, or if not find a public building like a library or a cooling shelter that does. (The Red Cross has more tips here.)

For pets and children, she said to make sure to never leave them in the car and keep them sheltered from the sun.

For family and friends, her advice is simple.

"Check in,” Johnson said. “Check in on your family and friends. If you know that there is somebody who is elderly, or disabled, or has physical issues, call them or go over there and check in on them, and make sure that they're holding up well. If not, you can do the same things for them that you're doing for yourself." 

Heat safety is important for everyone, but is essential for those working outside in the heat.

For those working in a food truck, it can get 10-20 degrees hotter in a food truck than the outside temperature. 

Jackson Higdon is the owner and chef at Lucky's Woodsman at Silver Moon Brewing.

He said he's tried for months to get air conditioning installed in his truck, but it hasn't panned out. Instead he has one air conditioning unit and a series of fans to create a "wind tunnel.”

Higdon said just to keep the food in his coolers cold, he is considering using dry ice.

For himself and his employees, Higdon said he is always looking for signs of heat exhaustion, but has set up ice buckets for employees to dunk their heads in every hour, among other things. 

"It's the first thing that I think of every day is, how am I going to make sure my staff is okay?” Higdon said

“I've had thoughts of just hosing down the truck on hot days, to try to get some of the heat off. You know, we keep Popsicles on site, dipping towels in water, so we have them on there. I have a couple fans that are portable that actually have misters on them,” Higdon said of his different cooling methods.

Higdon says he has lived and worked in Bend for most of his life, and this predicted heat wave is something he has never had to deal with. 

“We just pray that hopefully this heat wave doesn't last forever,” Higdon said. “I'd say most summers in Bend's history, it's rare to see a whole bunch of 100s in a row, so this is definitely something that's concerning."

Higdon said he still hopes to get the whole truck air conditioned, but will use these other “cool” tricks in the meantime. 

Meanwhile, for those who are trying to beat the heat who are experiencing homelessness, or don't have access to a cool place to stay, there will be cooling centers in Bend, Madras and Redmond to go to.

First Presbyterian Church and the Shepherds House are partnering with the Homeless Leadership Coalition and the city of Bend to provide cooling centers seven days a week starting Saturday through July 4th.

In Bend, First Presbyterian Church will be open on weekends from noon to 5 p.m. Shepherd's House will be open on weekdays from noon to 5. 

"It's really important for us and as a community to stand by our neighbors that are experiencing homelessness, to give them a safe place from the heat,” said Colleen Thomas, chair of the Homeless Leadership Coalition.

The pastor at First Presbyterian, the Rev. Morgan Schmidt, shared a similar sentiment. 

"We have neighbors who can't get relief from this kind of heat, and it's very extreme at this point. We believe that everybody deserves to be treated with dignity and have a safe place to seek shelter,” Schmidt said. “That goes beyond partisan politics. That goes beyond our religious affiliation. And at First Presbyterian, we want to be a safe place to find refuge." 

These organizations are working closely with the houseless community, but the cooling centers are open to everyone. 

More information on the cooling centers can be found here

Bend / Central Oregon / Local News / News / Top Stories
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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.



  1. I enjoy watching the obese locals suffer from their own gluttony and total disregard for their own health. Enjoy the heat !!!!! Rotflmao!!!

  2. Honestly. This is nothing new. I have seen temps avg 105 here. Last year it got to 108 out here at the farm between Bend and Redmond. Not long ago we had almost two weeks of the therm hitting 100 daily.

    1. This just in: US eliminates all Climatologist positions now that Phoenix Knight is on the job. “Not long ago we had almost two weeks…..” heralded as proof positive that Climate Scientists have it all wrong. Will the boy genius be awarded with a Nobel Prize? Only time will tell.

        1. You are so stupid! You have no idea how to understand the concept of frequency. We are seeing the hottest beginning to summer on record. Even if it hit 119 in 1898, that man measuring that temperature had no idea what he was doing and may of been your great grandfather.

          1. Oh so that science we can throw out??? Lol. Typical liberal claiming science when it benefits their tilted agenda. So why haven’t historians deleted previous temperatures recorded? Also, can you explain how woolly mammoths lived in Oregon? Pretty sure it must’ve been freaking way colder than now. It appears the temps have been trending up for a good 4000 years at least in our neck of the woods. Also, do you have a car? If so your opinion is garbage. Clearly you are using power you hypocrite. You need to get off the grid to save our world from burning, you can start using a homing pigeon to get your stupid comments to ol barns. You dumb hypocrite.

            1. It’s about reducing. My power bill was 48 dollars last month. I drove 4000 miles last year. The all time record high in Oregon is 115. Prinevale is 104. Do you suffer from hallucinations?

              1. I think you are hallucinating. 119 is the heat record Oregon heat record. Where are you getting your data??? You don’t believe the news all of a sudden? You are great at insulting me. But you never answer my science questions. How were there woolly mammoths in Oregon ? To me, it appears temperatures have always been changing. You can’t admit that though. You spout off that we are causing climate change yet you even admit you are clearly part of the problem. You are a big fat hypocrite. All of your damn driving and cell phone charging is making this weekend too damn hot!!!!! Now I need to crank my AC you fool. It’s a vicious cycle. The woolly mammoths are rolling in their carbon encased grave.

                1. I am still waiting for the coming ice age that was going to kill us in the 70s.

                2. I just did some Research and found Umatilla hit 117 in 1933. That is the Oregon record.

      1. Golly. If only there were marxist politicians we could vote for, give up more freedom, and give more tax dollars for wise central planners to save us. We’ve never had weather before. We are DOOOOOMED.

    2. Yes, burn more! That will things down Karen!!!! More winning sweetie!!! Stick with big fat failed and fired donnie!!! Rotflmao!!!

    3. There’s usually 1 or 2 weeks in the summer with temps in the 100’s in central Oregon…. although it doesn’t usually happen this early in the summer…usually is late July or August. Makes me think there will be even more of it.

  3. Gee…I hope my apartment complex opens the swimming pools they closed due to covid….but which we still pay for the privilege to have.

  4. Wow again. So much toxicity in people’s words …What’s up with that?!

    It’s hot. Period. I’ve lived in C.O. for 21 years …do not ever remember a 11O degree day. 102 yes.

    And BTW ~ it’s not just obese individuals that suffer. It’s hard on many people, critters, the environment etc.

    If you are lucky enough to have A/C …good on you. That’s called privilege. Check it.

    1. I’ve lived in C.O. for 31 years. I’ve never seen 110 temp either that is currently forecast for Monday (if that holds to be true). There’s usually 1 week sometimes 2 weeks of temps in the 100’s in the summer in C.O., but usually happens late July or August, not this early. Makes me think there might be even more this summer. And just to clarify, even though I’m a conservative, I do believe western united states is warming up for the last decade plus and even the earth, but it’s debatable the percentage of warming caused by humans.

        1. Do you guys get these talking points at your antifa club meetings. Or is this just the same person using the same account? Go to any comment section and there are word for word the exact same posts from caring and kind progressives.

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