In late June, a blistering heatwave settled over the Pacific Northwest, shattering high-temperature records from California to Canada. Hundreds of outdoor laborers or those who lacked air conditioning were hospitalized for heat-related ailments, and dozens died. Portland’s transit operator suspended rail service because of heat-damaged cables, while highways in Washington were closed due to buckling asphalt.
Jonathan Thompson, High Country News
Jonathan Thompson is a contributing editor at High Country News. He is the author of River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster. Email him at [email protected]
Last spring, as the first wave of measures to halt the spread of coronavirus kicked in, travel screeched nearly to a halt, and the hospitality and tourism industry slowed considerably. Locals in public-land gateway towns predicted doom — and also breathed a big sigh of relief. Their one-trick-pony economies would surely suffer, but at least all the newly laid-off residents would have the surrounding land to themselves for a change.