‘People Died’: Democratic Congressman Says It Hit 180 Degrees In Portland This Summer Due To Climate Change

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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Democratic Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer claimed that parts of his district hit a scalding 180 degrees this summer during remarks at the ongoing United Nations climate summit.

“We are in a race against time,” the congressman said at a press conference Wednesday alongside several of his Democratic colleagues.

“It took on new urgency for me this year with the horrific events,” he continued. “There was one day this summer in Portland, where temperatures in the heart of my district hit 180 degrees. People died.”

Blumenauer, 73, added that the U.S., particularly President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats, were prepared to combat climate change through ambitious legislation and by partnering with the private sector. Blumenauer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and about 20 other House Democrats traveled to the conference to engage in climate negotiations with world leaders this week. (RELATED: Pelosi Says Women Face Particular Dangers From Climate Change)


The Oregon congressman’s comments appeared to refer to a July local news report that the pavement on a Portland sidewalk was measured at one point to be 180 degrees. Vivek Shandas, a professor at Portland State University, recorded the temperature in a particularly hot neighborhood and blamed the area’s lack of trees and shade, Portland news outlet Willamette Week reported.

Shandas has been warning the city about the dangers posed by certain neighborhood infrastructure for a decade, according to the Willamette Week.

A spokesperson for Blumenauer confirmed that he was referencing sidewalk temperatures during the press conference Wednesday.

In June, Portland recorded its hottest day ever when air temperatures reached a scorching 116 degrees, The Oregonian reported. Dozens of Portland residents died during the summer’s heat wave, mainly due to lack of air conditioning, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The hottest air temperature ever recorded worldwide was 134 degrees in 1913 in Death Valley, California.

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