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Pioneer Hall to Serve as Winter Shelter

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ASHLAND, Ore. — As parts of Southern Oregon see freezing temperatures in the evening, those living on the community streets of Ashland will soon have another warm place to stay.

As early as next Thursday, doors will open at Pioneer Hall for those who need a warm place to stay. Wednesday night, the Ashland City Council discussed several city buildings before choosing Pioneer Hall. The two other buildings they considered were the Community Center and the Grove.

NewsWatch12 spoke with Councilman Greg Lemhouse earlier and he said this decision wasn’t easy. They had to consider liability issues that could come about by providing a city building as a shelter, like thefts, damages or staff members getting hurt. Councilman Lemhouse says the idea of the city providing a shelter was brought to the table in December and said this winter shelter is a temporary solution.

“I’m not happy that it came up in the middle of winter, this should have come up in the summertime, and I’m hoping going forward that this experiment will end in April and as a council and a community we need to talk about what can the city do and best serve those in need,” said Lemhouse.

The city is planning to have volunteers sign waivers, go through training and have a background check. Dogs, drugs or alcohol will also not be allowed inside the building. Pioneer Hall will be used one night a week on Thursday.