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Southern Oregon Communities Brace For Heat

A cooling shelter will be set up in the community center behind Talent City Hall during the August heatwave.
Erik Neumann/JPR
A cooling shelter will be set up in the community center behind Talent City Hall during the August heatwave.

The heat in Oregon is back. Triple digit temperatures this week are prompting communities in Southern Oregon to open cooling shelters this week.

Temperatures are expected to climb to 107 degrees in Jackson County. Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass and other towns are in the process of opening cooling shelters where people who don’t have air conditioning can escape the heat.

In the City of Talent, the community center building will be open Tuesday through Sunday, 2-8 PM. Besides air conditioning, there will be water misters set up outside, shade for pets, snacks from the Red Cross, water, WIFI and movies.

Organizer Robert Slayton with the City of Talent expects more visitors this week than when the cooling shelter was open last June.

“We were late to the game last time,” Slayton says. “We caught the tail end of the heat that we were really experiencing in town. This time we’re right at the start of it and it’s a little bit longer duration. I mean, we’re going almost six days of triple digits.”

On Tuesday Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency because of the coming heatwave. Extreme temperatures last June resulted in hundreds of deaths across the Pacific Northwest, including nearly 100 in the Portland area, according to the state medical examiner.

The Talent cooling shelter is located at 110 E. Main St. behind city hall. A volunteer-run cooling shelter will operate in Ashland from August 9-13 at 48 Fifth St. from noon until 8:00 PM.

Cooling shelters will also be operated in Medford at the Medford Senior Center on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from noon until 8:00 PM at 510 E. Main St. and at the Jackson County Library at 205 South Central in Medford.

The city of Grants Pass is looking for a partner to host a cooling shelter in the coming days.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.