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A local contractor, city and county staff, local companies donate money, materials and labor to complete upgrades at homeless shelter

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY MIKE WILSON
 - Workers complete a parking lot paving job at the Regeneration House. The labor on the paving project was provided free of charge.

When the City of Prineville approved a land use permit for the Regeneration House last year, it included certain conditions to meet going forward.

The men's homeless shelter operated by Redemption House Ministries that opened last fall on Madras Highway would eventually need fencing, an ADA-compliant paved parking lot, and landscaping to spruce up the outward appearance of the northwest Prineville property.

The most expensive of those projects would be the parking lot, and during the 2018 year, Ken Fahlgren reached out to different businesses and organizations in hopes of getting the work done for the lowest cost possible to the shelter.

The community partners ultimately exceeded his expectations as well as those of Greg Sanders, executive director of Redemption House Ministries. Not only did the work get done, Sanders said it didn't cost the organization any money.

"We have been very fortunate in how things have come together," Sanders said.

Fahlgren serves Crook and Jefferson counties as the Local Public Safety Council Coordinator, a position created by the Association of Oregon Counties. Part of that job includes efforts to ensure that homeless individuals are safe and off of the streets.

His initial outreach efforts included conversations with local paving contractor Jim Perrigo.

"He helped us with gravel in the beginning, getting the location (of the modular shelter) set," Fahlgren noted. "He gave us all of the gravel for everything underneath the siting of the shelter and for the parking area."

He turned to Perrigo again later, this time to find out how much it would cost to pave the parking area so that Redemption House leaders could know what fundraising was necessary.

"He didn't even stutter — he just said, 'I will do this for you for free,'" Fahlgren recalls. "I can't afford the asphalt, but I'll do all of the labor for you for free."

This would be the first of many pleasant surprises.

Crook County later agreed to donate $3,000 toward purchase of the asphalt, and St. Charles Health System chipped in another $2,500. This came as Tri-County Paving provided a discount on the asphalt as well.

Sanders went on to note that the City of Prineville's Public Works Department completed prep work on the site prior to paving, and Greg Hinshaw, with Crook County's Maintenance Department, completed parking lot striping and installed ADA signage.

The approximately $18,000 worth of work was completed earlier this month.

"We had some wonderful partners," Fahlgren remarked. "These are people who put out a lot of time and money and donated to make this happen."

In addition to the paving work, another local company, Crooked River Landscaping, was able to complete the majority of the required landscaping work at the site, thanks to some anonymous donations to Redemption House Ministries. He noted shelter leaders still need to add some trees to the site to obscure view of the facility's outdoor A/C unit from the highway, but landscaping is otherwise done.

"It's really great how the community just comes around and tries to do everything they can to help the people in our community who are just down and out," Sanders said of the paving and landscaping projects.

He hopes to soon hold a dedication ceremony to honor all of the individuals, businesses and organizations that have helped make the projects a reality and ensure the shelter can remain at its current location.

"We are very grateful for how the inhabitants of Prineville support us," he said.

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