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Red Cross Shelter At Spencer Butte Middle School Extended

Brian Bull

With several thousand people in Eugene still without power, a Red Cross shelter at Spencer Butte Middle School will stay open longer.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.  

Dianne Mekkers  is Site Director for the shelter, which opened Friday.  She says about 150 people have come for a variety of needs.

“We had a gentleman that fell out on the sidewalk, we called the paramedics," says Mekkers.  "And then we’ve got people coming in because there are trees on their house, or they’re afraid the trees are gonna fall into their house.”  

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Red Cross volunteers inside a hallway at Spencer Butte Middle School.

Among those here is Vern Arne, who enjoys the showers.

“Just getting hot water," he says. "Warm my fingers, warm my hands. 

"The other thing, everybody’s charging up their phones.  Because no electricity, your phones go dead really quick.  And so it’s a great place to get connected with civilization again.” 

Then there’s Matt Laubach, who’s on crutches.

“Well, I’m a hippy with a broken hip!" he tells KLCC.  "My plumbing stopped up, and can’t flush the toilet or take a shower!”

The shelter lets Dena James and her kids comfortably play basketball and drink cocoa.

"We check on the house, y’know, a couple times a day…and check our chickens, and feed’em.  And they’re all still alive.” 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Red Cross van outside Spencer Butte Middle School.

Red Cross officials say the shelter will stay open as long as needed.

Spencer Butte Middle School is at 500 East 43rd Avenue.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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