Banks, Environment, Weather

Heat wave shatters high temperature records

An image from the road camera at the Highways 6 and 8 junction showing 111 degrees on Monday, June 28.

Most of Oregon grappled with an intense heatwave that broke high temperature records on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before finally cooling off to the upper 90s.

In Hillsboro, the closest official recording location for the National Weather Service, the all-time high since records began in 1929 of 108 on July 21, 2006 was broken on Sunday, June 27 with a high of 109. 

It was broken again on Monday June 28, with a high of 114. In Salem, temperatures reached 117, while Portland was one degree cooler, with the mercury peaking at 116. 

And while cooler marine winds brought relief for much of the region beginning Sunday night, much of eastern and southern Oregon will continue to see triple-digit temperatures for another week, forecasts show. 

In Gales Creek, the Rippling Waters area owned by Washington County — technically not an open park — was crowded, with cars parked on Gales Creek Road, Roderick Road, and Half Mile Lane as visitors and Gales Creek residents alike sought relief from the heat, setting up canopies and inflatable rafts to float or just sit in the cool waters of Gales Creek. 

And while the worst of the heat wave is over, the forecast calls for 90s and 80s for the rest of the week and through the Independence Day holiday, with all the combustible celebrations that come with it. 

As a result, some cities and jurisdictions are banning fireworks. 

In Banks, the July 4th fireworks display, a joint effort from the city of Banks and the Sunset Speedway, with support from Banks business community, is still on. 

In a phone call with the Banks Post, Banks City Manager Jolynn Becker said that the show was still on, unless the Banks Fire District said otherwise. 

“But at this point, we’re still on,” Becker said on June 28. 

Forest Grove’s annual fireworks display was cancelled for 2021 long ago, due not to fire danger, but COVID-19 restrictions at the time.

In a message to the Gales Creek Journal, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue spokesperson Dave Nemeyer explained. 

“The decision to buy the fireworks needed to be made shortly after the first of the year, and the covid risk levels from the Governor were still so unpredictable at that point,” Nemeyer said. “It wasn’t something the firefighters association felt they could risk going forward with unless we could do a show that had people in attendance.”

“Fireworks are on sale, but please be smart and don’t use them this weekend or next week. Heck, maybe even skip them this year,” Forest Grove Fire & Rescue said in a social media post on June 25. 

North Plains’ firework show, scheduled to be launched from the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club from 10 to 10:20 p.m. July 4, was still on as of press time.

Banks’ fireworks show may still be on, but the city asked that residents reduce their water use for several weeks on Monday, June 28.

“Due to the extremely high temperatures, and the increased demand for water, the City is now in Stage 1 “Mild” of our Curtailment Plan,” the city said in a statement. “We are asking our customers to please voluntarily cut back on the amount of water used outdoors for the next several weeks.”

The city’s curtailment plan is part of a set of actions taken to increase the city’s water supply and reduce water use while the city works to repair a chronically leaking water transmission line, which has halted much of the development in the city for almost three years now. 

 The Banks city council originally adopted the development moratorium on December 11, 2018, and have extended it in six month chunks since then.

In lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry, and those near the borders that must also follow fire season regulations, fire danger was placed at “high,” where it remains. 

Two inmate crews from South Fork Forest Camp were on standby if needed in the event of wildfire, as was a helicopter in Salem and all local ODF units were on duty over the weekend. 

A crew of Washington County firefighters from Banks Fire District 13, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, and Hillsboro Fire & Rescue returned home Friday morning from a deployment in Central Oregon, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. 

With the fire danger placed at high, OHV trails close, restricting such activities to maintained gravel roads in the designated OHV areas of Browns Camp, Lyda Camp, Jordan Creek, Trask and Diamond Mill.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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