Oregon braces for another heat wave

Environment Oregon rallied in Kesey Square today and handed out popsicles to help community members stay cool.

Posted: Jul 29, 2021 1:08 PM
Updated: Jul 29, 2021 5:09 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- After historic high temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest in late June, another round of triple digit temperatures are expected to hit today and Friday.

RELATED: OREGON FACING EXTREME HEAT THIS WEEKEND

Environment Oregon rallied in Kesey Square today and handed out popsicles to help community members stay cool. They said climate change is a primary reason why the region is experiencing unprecedented heat.

"Climate change is contributing to this. We're in one of the worst droughts," said Jessie Kochacver, one of the activists at the event.

Kochaver said they support bold climate action including transitioning all transportation to electric vehicles.

Another concern among community members is lack of air conditioning in the heat.

KEZI 9 News spoke with Jennings Group, a property management company that oversees hundreds of units in Eugene. They said immediate action to renovate is difficult because of supply chain issues and monetary reasons.

"Just the proposal to get a good idea of the breadth and cost is about $15,000," Jennings Group president Darren Stone said. 

Stone said they are working with clients to improve cooling systems as quickly as possible. However, the pandemic has also created challenges.

"Not just HVAC equipment but anything construction or material related," Stone said. "Two years ago if you were remodeling your kitchen, it may take two weeks to get a set of cabinets. Now, it may take twelve weeks."

Stone said while proposals are underway, there will not be immediate changes this year.

Homes for Good, a public housing agency, said they have been working with an energy services team for several years, making it easier to provide residents with cooling equipment.

"Obviously, Oregon's climate in the summer has changed," said Ela Kubock, a spokeperson with Homes For Good. "What we do in all of our new affordable housing is make sure there is a cooling option."

KEZI 9 News also reached out to University of Oregon and Oregon State University about student housing units. They said they don't have plans to install air conditioning units in residence hall rooms. But there are community shared areas where air conditioning is installed.

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