Brighten a Life: Volunteer!

Donna and Tinkerbell
Donna and Tinkerbell

DONNA & TINKERBELL visit with residents, sharing good cheer.

Got a heart to help? We want you!

No experience or special skills are required to bring joy to others at Columbia Basin Care, the region’s only nonprofit, long-term care facility.

With a full schedule of music, movies, manicures, fitness classes, games, and outings, there’s never a dull moment at Columbia Basin Care — and volunteers help make it happen. Our programs provide an essential social component that ensures residents maintain a sense of independence, self-respect, dignity, and fun!

All ages are encouraged to volunteer, from youth to retirees. “Everyone has something to give and something to share,” notes Julie Turner, assistant director of nursing services.

A variety of volunteer positions are open, from one-to-one visiting to assisting with activities, events, and more. No experience is required, just a commitment to caring and a heart to help.

Volunteer Opportunities:
• Friendly Visitor
• Arts & Crafts Assistant
• Field Trip Assistant
• Me & My Pet Visitor
• Fitness Class Assistant
• Read-to-Resident Visitor
. . . and more! Have an idea? Let us know how you’d like to help.


• Satisfaction in helping others
• Gain experience and new skills
• Have fun and make new friends
• Be part of a team that values the elderly


• Friendly, reliable, and willing to learn
• Commit to a minimum of six-months of service
• Complete application process: interview, background check, training
• Adhere to company policies and procedures

“We’d love to match your interests and skills to our needs,” says Alesia O’Brien, Columbia Basin’s activities director.

For more information, contact Alesia O’Brien, activities director, 541-296-2156. Or drop by in person: Columbia Basin Care, 1015 Webber St. in The Dalles.


Pumpkins Galore!

janine pumpkin

janine pumpkin

We’re in the swing of autumn, and we’re decorating Columbia Basin Care with pumpkins galore!

Thanks to Christie Schreiner, a volunteer who prettied up our entry and halls with pumpkin decor, and to Ron & Cathy Elton for donating their homegrown pumpkins for our residents to decorate.

group pumpkin

pumpkin group

georgann pumpkinpumpkins - closeup

Happy Birthday Laura!

laura ashbrenner - 101 BW
laura ashbrenner - 101 BW

Laura Ashbrenner turns 101 on October 3, 2015.

Laura Ashbrenner, an accomplished fashion illustrator and artist who’s dedicated much of her life to capturing the beauty of the Columbia Gorge, turns 101 years on October 3, 2015.

Born in Battleground, Washington in 1914, Ashbrenner has lived most of her life in The Dalles and currently resides at Columbia Basin Care.

After high school, she attended Oregon School of Fine Arts, and built a career as an artist for advertising agencies. In the 1930s and 40s she worked as a fashion illustrator for top Portland retailers, including Meier & Frank department stores, Charles F. Berg Company, and Lipman Wolfe department store. Her work frequently appeared in the Oregonian and The Oregon Journal newspapers.

fashion illustration - Laura Asbrenner

Laura worked as a fashion illustrator.

“She says that a lady came to see her from New York and told her that she should be working in New York,” recalls Janet Meader, Laura’s daughter. “Instead Mother married my father and moved to Wishram, Washington.”

Edgar (Ed) and Laura Ashbrenner, along with their three children (Vern, Janet, and Marcie), moved to The Dalles after the dam was built in 1957, and Laura turned her focus to painting landscapes.

She and Ed would often take drives through the country, where Laura would gather inspiration. “I loved all the old barns,” she says. “Some days, Ed would go fishing and I’d paint.”

Laura and Ed were married 75 years. Ed passed away in 2013 at the age of 106.

Known for her sweet nature and quiet talent, Laura is an inspiration to many.

“Laura was born with a smile,” says Marilyn Roth, publisher of The Dalles Chronicle, who has known Laura for over 50 years.

Laura and Ed Ashbrenner - wedding

Ed and Laura were married 75 years.

Laura’s paintings of bucolic landscapes are on display at Columbia Basin Care. Her artwork is often seen for sale at online auction and collector sites such as Ebay.

Even now, Laura is still painting. Just days before her birthday, she’s putting the finishing touches on a Christmas card she’s creating for Columbia Basin Care.

“I’m just dabbling,” she says, grinning. “I’ve still got it in me, I guess.”