Portlanders without AC forced to get creative with cooling during heat wave


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 250,000 people in the Portland area without air conditioning, and that lack of cool air is forcing some folks to get creative as they try to beat the heat.

Sarah Elkinson invited FOX 12 into her third-story apartment in southeast Portland to experience the misery she said she had been experiencing during the current heat wave.

Elkinson said her apartment is getting so hot that she finds it almost impossible to sleep at night, leading her to look for unexpected methods of cooling down.

"The nice thing about a tile floor is that it stays cold. You can put water on it and then lie in that and not feel quite as cramped in the bathtub,” she explained.

Elkinson moved to the Rose City from Washington D.C. a few years ago, and like many Portlanders, she thought she would get along just fine with the city's mild and rainy reputation.

Was a guest today in an apartment without AC ??No thermostat either --- but the coconut oil ??...it don't lie ??people!Tune in at noon ?? pic.twitter.com/MnITOA9zUw— Kandra Kent (@KandraKPTV) August 3, 2017

Like the rest of the roughly 30 percent of Portland residents without home air-conditioning, she has had to figure out backup plans after even her best cooling-off plans fell flat in the face of triple-digit temperatures.

“I'm a student at PSU, so I've been hanging out at the PSU library,” Elkinson said of on such backup. “It's air conditioned and there's free Wi-Fi.”

Health officials are urging people to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water, with the Oregon Health Authority noting that air quality levels in the Portland area are at unhealthy levels due to the high temperatures and increased smog levels from Canadian wildfires.

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