Simonka Place benefits from bevy of local giving

A 48-foot, single-panel roof donated by Freres Lumber is put in place over a new patio at Simonka Place earlier this year. 

Simonka Place, a Union Gospel Mission shelter for women and children, has been on the receiving end of some sizable giving efforts in the past few months, but one of the biggest ones remains unused. 

Earlier this spring, a large group of regional business banded together to construct a covered patio area fit for parties, barbecues, lounging and other activities. However, it hasn’t been cleared for use because the organization needs about $15,000 to install a fire suppression system. 

“We need that because it is so close to the building,” said Kathy Smith, director of Women’s Ministries at UGM. 

Once that is complete, Simonka Place residents will have a full-on outdoor sanctuary. 

The construction project was headed up by CD Redding Construction who roped in Ty Freres of Freres Lumber Co. in Lyons.  

“Scott Champion at CD Redding asked us to help Simonka Place as it was a project that they were working on. Scott felt it was a perfect application for our new product line and we did as well,” Freres said. 

Freres had to fill a tall order with the Simonka Place project, a single, solid-wood panel three inches thick, 12 feet wide and 48 feet long was called for. 

“At our facilities in Lyons, we produce the only veneer-based mass timber panel in the world. For the application at Simonka House we were able to produce a single panel that created the entire roof element for their outdoor structure. No roof joists, no 4-by-8 panels, just a single panel, and a single pick and place,” Freres said.

The value of that single piece of lumber is more than $5,000. Green Acres Landscape, K&E Excavating, Knife River, Leisinger Designs, MCS Engineers, Northside Electric, Outdoor Fence, Ram Steelco Inc., Sequoia Pavers, Western Interlock and Windsor Rock all played roles in bringing it to fruition. 

“The covered area will allow us to utilize the backyard throughout the year and provide a space for women to visit,” said Smith. “The community has been extremely supportive and without so many people and organizations coming together, we wouldn’t have this wonderful backyard designed for play, large group functions, barbeques, meetings, social activities, chapel and worship.”

Freres said the project aligned with his company’s charitable goals of supporting children. 

Complementing that gift is a planned donation to by local realtor Bob Shackelford. Shackelford bought 20 tickets for a raffle to win a custom playhouse built by Remodeling by Classic Homes on River Road. The Up-themed house served as the business’ KeizerFEST parade float and then put it up as a prize in a raffle to support another local group, Satellite Gaming.

Shackelford won the playhouse and plans to donate it to Simonka Place. 

Smith said both the covered patio and playhouse are playing key roles in plans to eventually renovate the shelter’s entire backyard. 

To contribute to the effort, call UGM at 503-967-6388 or visit their website at