Severe weather shelter opens in Washougal

Camas-Washougal Community Chest provides money for 20 cots

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A $3,500 emergency grant from the Camas-Washougal Community Chest purchased 20 cots for the Washougal-Camas severe weather shelter (pictured Monday, Feb. 4), in the Washougal Community Center. The Community Chest funding, provided by donations from individuals and companies in the Camas-Washougal area, also bought food and toiletries for the shelter guests, as well as cleaning supplies. (Contributed photos courtesy of Robert Barber)

An emergency grant from the Camas-Washougal Community Chest is providing a more comfortable stay for people seeking relief from this week’s freezing temperatures.

The Community Chest board recently approved the $3,500 grant, which purchased 20 cots for the Washougal-Camas severe weather shelter, at the Washougal Community Center.

The cots arrived Friday, Feb. 1, at Washougal City Hall, and were set up for use Monday, Feb. 4, in the community center. The grant is also being used to purchase dinner and breakfast foods for shelter guests, as well as toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Robert Barber, chair of ReFuel Washougal and lead pastor of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, in Washougal, said a family of four dropped by the shelter Monday afternoon to help set up the cots.

Two men and two women stayed in the severe weather shelter that night, as 14 local residents volunteered to spend a few hours through the night.

The shelter was also going to be open Tuesday, Feb. 5, and Wednesday, Feb. 6, after this publication’s print deadlines.

Barber said he is keeping an eye on the weather forecast, and the shelter could be open again from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 9, Sunday, Feb. 10, and Monday, Feb. 11, in the Washougal Community Center, 1681 “C” St., Washougal.

“Additional days will be dependent on weather conditions and volunteer availability,’ Barber said by phone Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The city of Washougal, in partnership with ReFuel Washougal, is expected to open the severe weather shelter when the temperatures drop below 30 degrees or there is snow or ice in the forecast and there are enough trained volunteers to staff the shelter overnight.

The Salvation Army of Camas-Washougal Day Center is open extended hours from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, through Friday, at 1612 “I” St., Washougal.

Donations of new or gently used and washed twin size, medium weight blankets, as well as socks, gloves, scarves and hats for the severe weather shelter, can be dropped off in the Washougal City Hall lobby, 1701 “C” St., Washougal, and the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce office, 422 N.E. Fourth Ave., Camas.

For information about volunteer opportunities at the shelter, contact Barber at