CORVALLIS - As Oregon State University gears up for its annual winter blood drive, the nation's blood supply continues to hover near critically low levels, Red Cross officials said.

The three-day OSU Red Cross blood drive is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11-13 and is open to the public. The donation site is OSU's Memorial Union Ballroom and no appointments are needed. For information, contact OSU's College of Health and Human Sciences at 541-737-8566.

Oregon State is the Red Cross' largest blood drive in the region, said Douglas Tracy, Red Cross spokesman.

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 for the day.

Donors must be healthy, at least 17 years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Anyone wishing to give blood, but unable to make the OSU event can call 800-GIVELIFE to locate other local Red Cross blood drives.

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Red Cross, 503-284-0011