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PSU Researchers Look For Heat Islands in Eugene

Rachael McDonald

Researchers from Portland State University are in Eugene Friday to find the city’s hot spots. Their study of urban “heat islands” can help planners to improve conditions during heat waves like the one we’re experiencing.

PSU urban studies and environmental science professor Dr. Vivek Shandas says heat-waves kill more people than all other natural disasters combined. Shandas and his team have done a similar study of heat islands in Portland. He’s observed abundant tree canopy and farmland in Eugene’s urban core. He knows trees can provide cooler temps…

Shandas: “One of the things we’re trying to understand is how the difference in the way we plan our cities really makes a difference to what kind of temperatures that we observe in different part of the city and with the farmland, we don’t have this kind of farmland in the Portland metro region.”

After the team gathers data, they’ll take it back to their computers at PSU. Shandas says they’ll look at factors that make some parts of the city hotter than others. He says they’ll connect the findings with demographics. The research will be posted online next month.


Portland study of heat islands


Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.