Community plants 72 trees honoring 2021 Multnomah County heat wave victims

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Multnomah County community members and volunteers gathered Saturday morning to plant 72 trees memorializing the people who died during the record-breaking heat dome in the summer of 2021.

Held at Nadaka Nature Park in East Multnomah County, the planting was hosted by Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability, Friends of Trees and the City of Gresham.

Most of these heat-related deaths happened on the hottest day ever recorded in Portland and the next 2 days, the period of June 28 through June 30. The temperature on June 28, 2021 reached a whopping 116 degrees.

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At least one person died in almost every ZIP code of the county, but most of the deaths were concentrated in East County neighborhoods. Those deaths coincided with the “heat islands” in the county, where more heat is trapped by roads and buildings.

The county says around 100 volunteers signed up to help plant the trees in East County neighborhoods identified as heat islands, aiming to provide shade and cooler temperatures to the area when warmer weather is just around the corner.

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