MEDFORD, Ore. — With temperatures in the Medford area consistently hovering around 100 degrees this week, volunteers are taking the lead in opening a cooling shelter for those without a cool place to stay.
The City of Medford has declared a severe weather event due to the predicted surge in temperatures heading into the weekend. Once the city declares a severe event, it turns to local non-profits and community volunteers. Medford does not provide direct social services.
The shelter will be located at the Medford Senior Center starting Saturday. Officials from Medford and Jackson County are helping to facilitate the shelter, alongside groups like St. Vincent de Paul and ACCESS, but volunteers are needed to help staff the shelter.
"What we're planning on doing is we're going to be opening this weekend," said Christine Quitt of the Jackson County Homeless Task Force, "letting people come in, get cooled off, make sure they're hydrated, make sure they're healthy and safe, and just really love on them and make sure that they're taken care of."
The shelter will be open from noon until 8 p.m. starting this Saturday, and volunteers plan to provide several services for people who stop by. It's uncertain how consistent the shelter will be open beyond this weekend.
"For example if the weather says it's gonna be 90 on Wednesday . . . and Wednesday ends up being 102, we probably won't have the shelter open, because they won't have enough time to get volunteers," said Kelly Madding, Medford deputy city manager. "But we're trying to be proactive in looking far enough into the future and look at the weather. Consequently, if it says it's gonna be 103 and it ends up being 90, the shelter will probably be open that day."
For those interested in helping out, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will help you get set up heading into the shelter's first weekend.