Red Cross Shelter At Spencer Butte Middle School Extended

Dec 19, 2016

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.  

A sign announcing the shelter on the school's west side.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

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.”  

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

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.” 

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

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

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