CORVALLIS - With blood supplies nationwide at critically low levels, American Red Cross officials are counting on area residents to donate blood at Oregon State University's fall blood drive.

Last fall, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, thousands of people lined up to donate blood, but those donors have not returned, Red Cross officials said. Blood supplies nationwide have reached critically low levels, with less than one day's supply of several blood types.

The annual three-day OSU blood drive, the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, runs Nov. 12-14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the OSU Memorial Union Ballroom, said Douglas Tracy, Red Cross senior consultant. For information contact OSU's College of Health and Human Sciences at 541-737-8566.

Red Cross coordinators want to bolster the region's blood supply before the winter holidays and flu season.

Tracy said the entire donation process takes about 45 minutes. To speed the process, he urges donors to time their arrival at 15 or 20 minutes before or after the hour, since a majority of student donors tend to arrive "on-the-hour" as classes finish.

Donors must be healthy, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Persons who are older than 65 and in good health may usually donate with the approval of the blood bank physician.

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Douglas Tracy, 503-284-0011