Below freezing nighttime temperatures are predicted starting this week. The National Weather Service is predicting clear days with over night temperatures plunging into the mid-20’s.
According to Heather Johnson, Housing Program Manager with the Community Action Team, that means the Columbia County Warming Center (CCWS) center may be open a number of nights this week, depending on the weather.
The center, Located at the Community Action Team building at 125 N. 17th St. in St. Helens, serves all of Columbia County. For those in Clatskanie, free CC Rider tickets can be picked up in at the Clatskanie Library to help those needing to get to the center a ride.
Check in is from 8 to10 pm. Pets will be permitted this year but are required to be kenneled (provided). Other rules include, no smoking, alcohol, or drugs in the center. Weapons are prohibited and can be checked-in and locked up for the night.
After 10 p.m., there are no “in-and-out” privileges. If a person checks-in and then wants to leave after 10 p.m., they will not be allowed back in.
Showers are available in 20-minute increments on a first-come-first-served basis. There are also laundry facilities available on the same basis.
“For those services, I suggest people arrive as early a possible to allow enough time to make use of the services,” said Johnson.
“I try to make a decision about each night in the morning so that we have volunteers to staff the center,” she said.
Up-to-date status of CCWC openings each day can be found at https:/www.flashalert.net/id/ccwc.
In addition, signs are posted across the county to let people know when the shelter will be open.
Johnson said she is eagerly seeking additional volunteers to staff CCWC.
“We have a good core of volunteers, but we need more,” she said. “It takes six volunteers to open the center. Without those, we cannot open and people are unable to make use of CCWS,” she said.
CWCC shifts are four hours in length and run from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. There are three shifts and they are as follows: 7:30 pm - 12 am; 12-4 am and 4 am to 8 am. Volunteers should be over the age of 18 and pass a criminal background check. The CCWC provides training.
To volunteer, contact Johnson at (503) 366-6559 by email at email@example.com.