Red Cross opens shelters to help thousands without power

JOSEPHINE COUNTY, Ore. — Thousands remain without power as crews work to clear the roads of downed trees.

“Knocked out power to a lot of folks and then in the city we had a few of them, but these heavy, wet storms, a lot of loading from the snow gets on there and a little bit of wind and they just fall right over,” Wade Elliot, Grants Pass Public Works, said.

In response, the Red Cross opened two shelters. One is at the Josephine County Fairgrounds in Grants Pass and the other is at Illinois Valley High school in Cave Junction.

“Hunkering down is always an option, unless you’re not prepared to hunker down,” Joel King, Red Cross, said.

The shelters offer food, showers and a warm place to stay. While some residents have been trickling in, the Red Cross says more are expected to seek help if power isn’t restored soon.

“Out in Cave Junction, you know. A lot of those folks are on wells that require those pumps. If the pump doesn’t work then they don’t have water, they don’t have heat and they have no place to go,” King said.

The Red Cross says they’ll remain open as long as needed. When emergency services decides it’s no longer needed, a 24-hour notice will be given before shelters close their doors.

“It’s not normal life, but it keeps you a lot closer to normal than living in your car would or living in a cold house without water, without power,” King said.

Pacific Power says crews will work day and night until it is fully restored.

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