Oregon Gov. Kate Brown called on Oregonians Friday to be mindful of how much water they’re using in what’s emerged as a hot, dry summer, but she stopped short of calling for water restrictions.
On Friday, during an interview with the public radio program Hear & Now, Brown said she is encouraging residents to use their water resources wisely.
“I am asking Oregonians to be very aware of the challenging weather conditions we are facing right now,” she said.
During the past weekend and earlier this week, the heat dome over the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, broke high temperature records across the region. In Portland, the record was broken three days in a row, going as high as 116 degrees on Monday.
“It is a sign of changing climate and we will be working to ensure that our communities have the tools they need,” she said. “But this is going to require our federal administration to step up and do everything they can to tackle climate change.”
Although the intensity of the heatwave has eased in most areas, Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington are still experiencing temperatures in the high 90s and into the triple digits. Meanwhile in the Willamette Valley, temperatures are forecast to be in the 80s.
As the heat lingers, the number of deaths attributed to high temperatures grows. In Oregon, the number of people determined to have died from heat related causes since last Friday was adjusted to 94. Most of them were in Multnomah County. It recorded 59 of those deaths.
One heat-related death occurred last Saturday, when a 38-year-old male farmworker from Guatemala was found dead on a farm where he worked north of Salem. The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health, Oregon OSHA, listed the cause of death as heat related.
The agency has opened an investigation into Ernst Nursery and Brother Farm Labor Contractor. Both the nursery and the contractor have been previously cited by OSHA for workplace violations.
Most recently, Brother Farm Labor Contractor has been cited for exposing workers to unsanitary conditions, failing to protect the health of farmworkers during the pandemic and not providing drinking water and handwashing facilities.
Brown said she is working with state agencies to gather more information on the death.
Meanwhile, West Linn on Friday became the latest among several localities in Oregon and southwest Washington to ban fireworks due to high fire risks.