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John Friedrick received the Distinguished Service Award for 2023 Submitted Photo

Distinguished Service: John Friedrick – pastor, champion, safety net

By James Day Sometimes your ability to make a difference in your community can be as simple as how often you say ”yes.” That’s been the case in recent years with Oak Street Church and its pastor John Friedrick. Yes to continuing its Monday meal tradition. Yes to using the church building for a warming shelter. Yes to hosting listening […]

A Keeton family photo from the 1990s with Joe Keeton (in hat) with his father and three of his daughters as children. Courtesy Autumn Keeton

Slipping through the cracks: Reflections on a life lost

By Melissa Wagoner When Jenna Keeton received a phone call from her mother alerting her that her father had died, she wasn’t surprised. “I had been preparing myself for his death for years,” Jenna admitted. “But I was expecting a heart attack or an overdose.” Instead, Jenna learned that her father, Joe Keeton – a man who had struggled with […]

A look inside the new Sheltering Silverton facility at the city shops on McClaine Street. A grand opening celebration was held Nov. 21 at the site. James Day

Compassionate space – Sheltering Silverton opens new facility

By James Day Sheltering Silverton has hit a milestone in its serving of the homeless in town with the opening of its new warming shelter and cabins outside the parking lot of the city shops complex on McClaine Street. “It’s not the end, but it’s a new chapter,” said board president Mary Jane Schaffer, one of the speakers at an […]

The new Sheltering Silverton facility off Silverton Road. James Day

Sheltering Silverton – Closing in on move

By James Day Sheltering Silverton’s move to a new space in the city’s Public Works complex is just a week or so away. Sarah White, the nonprofit’s executive director, told Our Town “we are very close to completing the renovations of our building.” Key work to be done on the modular structure includes plumbing, adding a kitchen and a bathroom, […]

Sheltering Silverton

Lions host homelessness presentation

The Silverton Lions Club will welcome Sarah White from Sheltering Silverton for a presentation Thursday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 303 Church St., Silverton.  White’s talk, “A Competent Collaborative Community Response to Homelessness”, is free and open to the public.  

Giving a familiar face a story – The life and loss of Joe Keeton

By Melissa Wagoner In the five years since Joe Keeton moved to Silverton at the behest of a friend, his face became known to many throughout the town including Sarah White, the executive director and founder of Sheltering Silverton. “I met Joe in 2018 when we first opened up our Resource Center in the basement of the Community Center,” White said, […]

Sheltering Silverton

State funds boost shelter project

By James Day Sheltering Silverton has received a $564,683 grant from the state to assist in the agency’s emergency shelter operations in Silverton.The funds were part of a $10.4 million pool of state money awarded to Marion and Polk counties and distributed by the Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance.  Sheltering Silverton will use the bulk of the new funding, $300,000, to […]

Creating shelter – Bids out for modular project

By James Day The City of Silverton is accepting bids for rehab work on a modular unit that will serve as a warming shelter for clients of Sheltering Silverton. The city has set aside $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the project. The closing date for bids is March 21. The bid process opened Feb. 28. Sarah […]

PIT Count – Annual sheltering survey is about more than just the data

By Melissa Wagoner  On the last Wednesday of January each year volunteers across the state come together to provide government officials with a snapshot of the current unhoused population. The purpose of which is, according to Sheltering Silverton Program Director Megan Smith, “that statewide every year we can have a better idea about what’s needed for allocation in shelters.” Shelters like the […]

Lighting the way – Lantern Parade more than just pretty lights

By Melissa Wagoner When Sheltering Silverton created the Children’s Lantern Parade in 2018, they wanted the event to be more than just another parade. “It’s about people lighting up the dark for their neighbors,” Sheltering Silverton founder Sarah White explained.  Both those with homes and those without. “This is a way to remind [the unhoused], you’re not alone and you’re […]

New chapter – Sheltering Silverton regroups following founder’s accident

By Melissa Wagoner When Sarah White created, and later became the director of, Sheltering Silverton – a resource center advocating for those who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless – she already knew that someday she would leave the day-to-day operations for a more advisory position.  “We had been working on an exit strategy that was going to […]

Trauma and isolation: Solving houselessness is a community issue

By Melissa Wagoner Trauma is the one-word answer both Sarah White, program director and case manager at Sheltering Silverton, and Sarah Case, a licensed professional counselor, give when asked to describe a prevalent narrative within unhoused populations. “The vast majority of people we serve are survivors of trauma, often complex trauma experienced over their lifetimes,” White explained. “We hear from folks […]

Space to transition: St. Edward’s breaks ground for tiny shelter homes

By Melissa Wagoner Gloria’s path to homelessness began last December – on her birthday – when the woman who employed her as a live-in caregiver had a stroke. By Christmas she found herself living in her van with two dogs. And by Jan. 4 she was sleeping under the Marion Street Bridge in Salem with nothing but her dog and […]

Distinguished service: Sarah White sees those served as brothers, sisters

By Brenna Wiegand Though greatly honored, Sarah White is a little embarrassed at receiving Silverton’s Distinguished Service award for 2018. “I’m really grateful; I feel it is a collective work and a collective award and I just happen to be the person whose name is on it,” White said. White was part of a core group that formed Silverton Sheltering […]