More than 100 people had used the cooling center at ARCHES by noon Tuesday. Dozens of others received help from emergency outreach teams.
Outreach teams for the homeless have taken on a sort of “militarized” response to the current heat wave, having learned from the deadly 2021 heat dome and wildfires.
“It was really us looking and recognizing we’ve typically done a good job of responding to emergencies … but we recognized we play a vital role in connecting the unsheltered population with services. And so we created our own emergency management department,” said Robert Marshall, program coordinator for ARCHES.
By noon on Tuesday, more than 100 people had stopped by the ARCHES’s day center in downtown Salem, looking for relief from the heat wave that prompted Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to declare a state of emergency the same day. Earlier this month, the average was 115 unique guests per day. On Monday, there were 185 guests. By 4 p.m. Tuesday, 200 people had visited.