Construction crews re-frame the doorway in the Center for Hope and Safety on Saturday. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

Crews were hard at work Saturday tearing down walls, ripping out drywall and re-framing doorways at the Center for Hope and Safety in downtown Salem.

Construction workers from JE Dunn Construction, which has an office in Portland, and Wilsonville-based Western Partitions, Inc. donated their time to help make the refuge for victims safer by creating a secure entryway in the front of the building.

The nonprofit serves survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing shelter and offering supportive services.

Before, there was nothing preventing a person, say a domestic abuser, from walking past reception.

Now, there will be a laminated glass teller window and locked doors controlled by a key fob.

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Both JE Dunn and Western Partitions are helping build the new $78 million Salem Police Department headquarters.

Kyle Boehnlein, a project manager at JE Dunn, reached out to Deputy Chief Steve Bellshaw to see what the company could do to volunteer around the community.

Boehnlein said volunteerism is core to the company’s culture.  

“We’re really interested in making sure we engage with the community,” he said.

Bellshaw thought of the women’s shelter and called Executive Director Jayne Downing.

Downing said having the work done over the weekend saved the shelter a lot of disruption.

“We just really appreciate that the Salem Police Department thought of us,” Downing said. “To give their time and energy to us was incredibly generous and saves us a lot of resources.”

Facilities Coordinator Jon Winberg had been planning to do the remodel himself and estimated it would take him about three weeks to complete piecemeal.

JE Dunn’s offer came at just the right time. The majority of the work was completed on Saturday and the remainder – finishing the drywall and texturizing -- will be done this weekend.

Winberg said the materials cost around $10,000. The security window was $3,500 alone.

He said creating the new entryway was proactive rather than reactive.

“We don’t want to be in a place where we have to do this after something happens,” Winberg said.

Bellshaw said many of the police department’s calls focus on domestic violence and “it really helps us to be able to know that we’re sending our victims to a safe location.”

Construction crews helped build a safer entryway at the Center for Hope and Safety Saturday (Saphara Harrell/ Salem Reporter)

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.