Severe weather shelter opens tonight

More volunteers needed to staff overnight shelter in downtown Washougal

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Michelle Wolcott (left), Rick Jones (center) and Patty Buslach (right), all of Washougal, sign up to volunteer at a severe weather shelter in downtown Washougal Nov. 29.

With temperatures expected to drop below freezing this week, a few Washougal and Camas residents have volunteered to staff a severe weather shelter in downtown Washougal.

The shelter will be open from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Thursday, Dec. 6, in the Washougal Community Center, 1681 “C” St., Washougal.

Robert Barber, chair of ReFuel Washougal and lead pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, in Washougal, said the goal is to provide a welcoming, safe place where people can sleep, eat simple food and have access to a bathroom when the temperatures drop below 30 degrees or there is snow or ice in the forecast.

Michelle Wolcott, of Washougal, attended a Nov. 29 meeting to learn more about the opportunities to volunteer at the shelter.

“I want to be part of the team that makes the shelter a success in helping the vulnerable members of our community,” she said.

Wolcott, 54, needs to go through training before she can volunteer at the shelter.

Barber plans to offer volunteer training this month in Washougal. He said the need for volunteers is particularly important during the overnight shifts. If there are not enough volunteers, the shelter will not open.

Vickie Cable and her husband, Ken, have attended a volunteer training session. They volunteered with Winter Hospitality Overflow, of Vancouver, in 2017, and at the severe weather shelter at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, in Washougal, in 2018.

Vickie, 63, and Ken, 62, live outside the city limits, in Skamania County.

Patty Buslach, 61, and her husband Rick Jones, 67, of Washougal, attended the Nov. 29 severe weather shelter informational meeting.

Buslach said she is glad the community is provideing the shelter.

“I feel everyone should have a safe and warm place to sleep,” she said.

The Salvation Army of Camas-Washougal Day Center, with a food pantry and free clothes, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, at 1612 “I” St., Washougal. For information, call 360-835-3171 or visit

Refuel Washougal serves free dinners from 4 to 6:30 p.m., every Friday, in the Washougal Community Center.

For more information about volunteer opportunities and training sessions for the Washougal-Camas severe weather shelter, contact Barber at 360-835-5533 or