Bitterly cold and dangerous outdoor weather conditions are a fact of wintertime in Oregon. When temperatures are expected to drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit overnight, when warnings of winter storms, high winds or flooding are issued, the local warming center springs into action.
Tillamook CARE (Community Action Resource Enterprises) has maintained warming centers during cold weather events for some years now. This past year, the warming canter was open 15 nights. In the past eight years, the number of open nights has ranged from 9 to 34 every winter, serving from 5 to 15 people each open night.
The warming center opens from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Everyone is welcome to stay. There are warm beverages and snacks as well as a warm place to sleep with bedding provided.
A pool of volunteers manages the warming center, and more are always welcome – particularly during extended cold snaps when a larger pool helps volunteers to rotate shifts. The only pay for this work is the gratitude of the warming center visitors who need shelter from the cold.
Opening the warming center requires a staff of six volunteers. To be prepared at all times, the warming center needs around 40-50 volunteers at the ready who have completed background screening.
The warming center is currently located at First Christian Church, 2203 Fourth St. in Tillamook. To sign up as volunteer, contact CARE during office hours at 2310 First St., Suite 2, in Tillamook, or by phone at 503-842-5261.
Created in 1991, CARE is Tillamook County's homegrown, locally controlled, nonprofit social service agency.