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Roseburg Senior Center opens cooling center


ROSEBURG, Ore. – The Roseburg Senior Center will open a cooling center Monday, July 25, to offer shelter from this week’s heat wave.

Following a request from Assistant City Manager Amy Sowa last week, Roseburg Senior Center officials will open the building at 1614 S.E. Stephens St. as a cooling center from today until at least Friday, July 29. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory today, when the temperature is expected to climb to 100 degrees. Temperatures in the high 90s are forecast for the rest of the week, with NWS meteorologists predicting a high of 99 on Tuesday.

The cooling center is scheduled to open at 11 a.m. each weekday. They will serve lunch and dinner. The cooling center will be open until 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and until 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, said Ruth Smith, president of the senior center Board of Directors.

“Usually right about 5-ish is when winds start picking up along the river and start pushing the heat out,” said Smith, adding that people who camp along the river left last summer’s cooling center by about 5 p.m.

Showers will be available outside the cooling center.

The center will follow social distancing guidelines and set up canopies outside to provide shade for anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, because symptomatic people will not be allowed inside the cooling center. Volunteers will be outside as well and senior center officials are working to get misters for the canopies, Smith said.

“We’re just trying to figure out how to keep them cool,” she said.

Inside, the cooling center will have a 45-person capacity. That includes volunteers, so with seven volunteers today, leaves room for about 38 guests. Last summer’s cooling center saw at most 40 people visiting at any one time. The canopies also will be used so people can rotate in and out if needed, or for people who prefer to just stay outside, Smith said.

“We’re doing social distancing because of COVID cases,” Smith said.

Masks are not required, but the center may offer masks for people. Guests will be allowed to bring pets inside.

“Last year, we had cats and dogs. I was like, ‘Cats over this way, dogs over that.’ I didn’t want any fur flying,” Smith said.

The Douglas County Public Health Department will provide air scrubbers to clean indoor air today, she added.

The cooling center can still use donations of ice, water, soft snacks and easy-to-chew fresh fruit (bananas, etc.), feminine hygiene, batteries, razors, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, sunscreen and summer clothing – including hats, socks and underwear -- for women and men.

Those who’d like to volunteer can sign up on the center’s volunteer application form.

City officials would like to thank the Roseburg Senior Center for stepping up to fill this need.

The cooling center may stay open past Friday, which is currently predicted to reach 96 degrees. Check the senior center’s Facebook page for updates.

“We’re playing it by ear at the moment,” Smith said.

Posted by RoseburgAdmin