CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — The Jackson County Expo will continue to serve as a shelter for those displaced by fire, but many of the services that have sprouted up at the venue are now moving to the "Multi-Agency Resource Center" (MARC) at Central Medford High School.
The Expo was thrust into its role as an evacuation shelter on September 8, as the Almeda Fire raged north from Ashland, through Talent and Phoenix. Evacuations from the South Obenchain Fire soon followed, with the Expo continuing to serve as an evacuee hub.
“We know livestock, fairs, events, etc. — but people, sheltering people, that was new,” said Helen Funk, Jackson County Expo Director.
The Expo saw roughly 2,000 people come through on the first night, originally served by a skeleton-crew of Expo staff. But volunteers soon stepped in to help, and representatives from more than 17 different organizations looking to help evacuees.
“On Monday, Labor Day, the Expo had no events and hardly any staff . . . and by Tuesday, we witnessed an army of volunteers rise,” said Funk. “Our community answered the call to help.”
Doctors and medical staff came from Asante Rogue Regional and Providence Medford Medical Center, alongside personnel from Mercy Flights and Jackson County Mental Health.
“We were blown away by everyone that came, including the Jackson County Mental Health team being there 24 hours a day,” said Funk. “When people couldn’t sleep or needed to talk, someone was always there.”
The Mace Building became a hub for resources, including computers that evacuees could use to mark themselves safe, contact family, register with FEMA, file for an address change, or look for rentals and book hotels. They installed a phone bank to field questions 24-hours per day.
State Representative Pam Marsh coordinated efforts with the Department of Motor Vehicles to assist those needing new identification cards and licenses.
The Expo will continue to serve as a shelter for those who lost their homes, but many of the other grassroots resources that grew within the evacuee shelter will now be moving to the MARC, announced at Central Medford High School on Wednesday. It officially opened on Thursday.
There are also satellite "MARC" spots at several other locations, specifically for FEMA claims processing. According to the Expo, this means some changes became effective on Friday:
- The Connection Station, which has provided social service connections to evacuees at the Expo, will close. As of Saturday, people should go to the MARC at Central Medford High School for these services.
- The Red Cross evacuee shelter at the Expo will remain open for the foreseeable future for those members of Jackson County that were displaced by recent fires.
- Transportation from the Expo to MARC locations is available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please call the Phoenix-Talent Schools District Care Line — English (541) 821-7135 or Spanish (541) 821-7697.
Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) Locations:
- Medford (Services Hub)- Central High School, located at 815 S. Oakdale Avenue (541) 842-3669
- Talent (FEMA Claim Processing) -Talent Elementary School, located at 307 Wagner Creek Road (541) 535-1531
- Phoenix (FEMA Claim Processing) - Phoenix Civic Center, located at 220 N. Main Street (541) 535-1955 ext. 303
- The Shady Cove MARC is no longer open. No Citizens came for services so the FEMA team is now at the other MARC locations.