Warming Shelter finds new home

The Fruit Tree building, formerly an Asian restaurant, will become this season's Hood River warming shelter.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
The Fruit Tree building, formerly an Asian restaurant, will become this season's Hood River warming shelter.

The Fruit Tree building will serve as this season’s Hood River Warming Shelter.

Last in use as an Asian restaurant, the ground floor has been vacant for about three years. For many years the building housed a business that specialized in gifts, including Christmas items. (The Fruit Tree/Deck the Halls sign has remained in place since its closure in 2002, even during the building’s years as a restaurant.)

The restaurant portion of the building will begin service Nov. 15 as a place for people without a home to come in from the cold.

Volunteer Training starts Sept. 17 for the Warming Shelter, now in its sixth season. (Details on page A9).

For its first three years, the shelter alternated weeks at host churches. In 2013, Mid-Columbia Center for Living signed on as a host along with three churches. In the latter half of 2014-15, the shelter committee rented the annex at Hood River Expo Center, then owned by the Port of Hood River, as the sole site. That building is scheduled for demolition, so it was not available this season.

Hood River Warming Shelter is preparing to open for its sixth season on Nov. 15 and looking for volunteers.

Anyone interested in volunteering this year needs to attend one of the following sessions:

Thursday, Sept. 17, 6:30 to 9 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 22, 6:30 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 to 11:30 a.m.; or Wednesday, Oct. 28, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

All volunteers (new or returning) must attend a training session this year. All training sessions will be held at The Fruit Tree.

For details contact Rev. Anna Carmichael (revannacarmichael@gmail.com) or

Andy Wade (hrws@hoodrivercares.org).

The Fruit Tree space will be roughly equivalent in area to past locations. It can easily be divided into sleeping and eating/social areas, along with a dedicated area for volunteers.

From 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., at least two volunteers staff the shelter each night. Guests are provided bedding, an evening and morning meal, as well as resource and referral to community services, including access to showers and laundry. No drugs, weapons, or tobacco are allowed.

Carmichael said the new location is one mile from Safeway, and a level walk from downtown. The committee will reach out to guests via printed material and through other local agencies. The committee also notified Fruit Tree neighbors, and confirmed in advance with the County that the shelter was an allowed use for the building.

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