News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Canyon Crisis Center gets new storage building

Nonprofits face a constant battle to serve their customers and communities while remaining viable financially and with the staff and volunteers to deliver their services.

For the Canyon Crisis and Resource Center, which has been serving the Santiam Canyon since 1985, the big challenge in the post-2020-wildfires environment has been finding storage space for the items it was receiving from the community to donate to Canyon families.

Let’s let executive director Cherie Girod, who has been involved with the Crisis Center since 1986, explain the situation:

“We did not have a place to put everything that was so generously donated and so an amazing offer was given to us from the Martinez family (they own the Sierra Mexican Restaurant in Gates) to use an old store building they had rent free. So staff and volunteers moved everything there and for two years the Canyon communities could come in and shop for needed items in helping to rebuild their lives.

“But after two years the Martinez family needed their building back. So, the Canyon Crisis Center moved everything into storage units but still provided for community and individuals needs from the storage units.”

Wednesday, Jan. 3, however, marked a milestone for the Crisis Center as a new 40×16 modular building was, carefully, expertly, moved onto the back of the Crisis Center’s Mill City property. Grants and donations helped pay for the building and some extremely impressive work by shed mover Tristan Koepl of Roseburg installed it in place amid light rain.

Canyon Crisis Center staffers and volunteers and a reporter watched in awe as Koepl backed up his heavy duty truck carrying the storage shed across a parking lot through some soggy sod and slipped it past another storage shed onto a 40×16 pad of crushed rock set up by the Crisis Center. 

Koepl successfully maneuvered the back end of the shed onto the pad, but the trailer and shed were about 30 degrees away from occupying the contours of the pad. So Koepl raised the front of shed hydraulically and slowly, gently reeled in the front of the shed using a remote control pad that operated an extra set of wheels under the trailer as the staffers and volunteers and reporter oohed and aahed from the back porch.

Then, Koepl, with the help of his three sons, a 10-year-old and 8-year-old twins, used a manual jack and a pile of small 2x6s to adjust the shed into a level position, applying the 2x6s as shims where necessary.

The boys were to be rewarded with a fishing outing at Detroit Lake on the way home.

“This new store will allow our communities, families, individuals, and children the dignity of shopping for themselves and feeling they matter,” Girod said. “It will mean a lot for all of the Canyon communities trying to recover from the fires.”

The expert placement of the shed by Koepl and his young charges marked a huge step forward for the Crisis Center, but Girod noted “there is a lot of work to do before the free store can open for business,” particularly with the interior of the structure.

The Crisis Center is looking for financial and materials and building skill assistance as the group looks to add flooring, shelving, insulation, electrical infrastructure and a porch. The shed will store clothing, shoes, household items and small furniture for distribution throughout the Canyon. 

“We are hoping for donations to help with all these needs to get this amazing community store open sooner than later,” Girod said. “There are so many costs we have no idea of but just pray others see the need and value in this store and will help out.”

Those looking to assist the Crisis Center can email [email protected]  or call Girod at 503-931-2380.

Canyon Crisis Center


The Canyon Crisis and Resource Center, 825 NW Santiam Blvd. in Mill City, serves victims and survivors of abuse and violence, the homeless, veterans and those with mental health issues. The center includes a 24-hour crisis hotline at 503-897-2327. The hotline is free and confidential.

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