MEDFORD - The night of Tuesday September 8, as fires raged across the region, an emergency evacuation operation was set up at the Jackson County EXPO. Initial focus of the operations by county employees was aimed at providing immediate overnight sheltering opportunities for the hundreds of evacuees, in addition to coordination of an onsite medical care facility to assist the dozens of medically fragile people that were being evacuated onsite. Additionally, Jackson County Mental Health relocated 24/7 crisis services to the EXPO to begin providing around-the-clock care for those in need of emotional support.
“As folks arrived onsite from a traumatic environment, we wanted to make sure they received the medical and emotional support they so desperately needed at that time,” says Steve Lambert with Jackson County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
A specific goal of the facility is to provide a welcome and safe environment to the Latinx community members who have been greatly affected by the Almeda Fire. Bilingual and bicultural support will be provided by trusted partners for our Latinx community members at the facility. “We encourage members of our community to access the services at the EXPO,” says Nancy McKinnis with Jackson Care Connect who is working with the EOC to provide outreach to the Latinx community.
Services at the EXPO continue to evolve as needs of the community change in response to the emergency. Moving past the first few days focusing on immediate needs, the facility is now beginning to offer additional support to the community through direct county services and valued relationships with partners.
- The Red Cross will begin assuming responsibility for overnight sheltering as of 8:00 P.M. September 16. There are places for evacuees to set up tents, park recreational vehicles, sleep in cars and plenty of available cots. All other services onsite will continue to be coordinated by the Jackson County EOC.
- The medical facility lead by Jackson County Public Health will close later today, as the department was successful in meeting immediate care needs and finding longer term solutions for the 45 patients that were in their direct care. An onsite first aid station with nursing service will be provided by the Red Cross.
- The Jackson County EOC has procured shower and laundry trailers that are operational onsite.
- Evacuees can receive three meals per day thanks to the Salvation Army and local restaurants that have graciously stepped up during this time.
- A resource “Connection Station” has been set up to provide social services such as assistance with signing up for the Oregon Health Plan, Veteran’s Affairs, Jackson County Assessor’s office tax proration coordination, Oregon Department of Human Services food and housing assistance, mental and emotional support, Latinx outreach and support groups, ACCESS, and senior services.
- Child care services are being provided by Phoenix-Talent School District for families to be able to speak with service providers.
- Donations can be dropped off at Gate 2 and those interested in volunteering can register with the RVCOAD at https://roguevalley.recovers.org
- Additional service providers will be visiting the site in the future as connections continue to grow.
Those interested in receiving services can arrive to Gate 2 of the Jackson County EXPO at 1 Peninger Rd., Central Point. Busing assistance is being provided by Phoenix-Talent School District and RVTD for community members in need of transportation support.
RVTD Expo Shuttle: RVTD is running the following routes to and from the Jackson County Expo. Passengers should look for a Valley Lift paratransit van with the RVTD logo on the side. The shuttles run Monday through Saturday every 30 minutes between 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM and again at 1:30 PM - 5:30 PM.
• Central Point shuttle- runs between the Expo and Central Point Albertson's/Goodwill on Freeman Rd. The Route 40 serves this shopping center. Anyone wanting to get to the Expo should get off the Route 40 at the stop on Freeman Rd. and walk to the Goodwill to wait in front for the shuttle.
• South Gateway Medford shuttle- runs between the Expo and the S. Gateway Walmart and also the S. Medford Goodwill. The S. Walmart is served by the 1X and the S. Medford Goodwill is served by the Route 24. Anyone wanting to get to the Expo needs to wait in front of either store.
Phoenix-Talent School District (PTS): PTS will be offering shuttling services with school transportation from the Phoenix Home Depot and White Mountain Middle School in White City based on demand. Those in need of individual shuttling can contact the PTS District Care line at (541) 821-7135 (English), or (541) 821-7697 (Spanish).