By Sandi Long, Volunteer Halfway House Lead

Furry Friends has completed the final phase of changing the Halfway House use from Residential to Commercial\Business, making it an official animal shelter. One of the reasons we purchased the property is because it was already zoned Commercial. For it to meet City of Vancouver approved as a shelter, we needed to change the use of the structure itself from Residential to Commercial/Business.

Doing so required us to: install a sidewalk; add parking spaces and lighting; expand the driveway; add an ADA compliant pedestrian ramp; assure the protection of archaeological resources and tree conservation; control erosion during construction; add a stormwater system; provide an ADA compliant bathroom; and insulate designated exterior walls. The Fire Marshal required us to: post emergency signs; exchange hook latches on cage doors with magnets for easy exit; and equip exit door key-locks with fail-safe, immediate releasing (without delay) locks for exit/egress doors. This entire process took six years.

 Fire Extinguishers

The Fire Marshal also required us to install 2-A:10-B:C fire extinguishers in the medical room and in the hallway by the small bathroom. The building is primarily made of concrete brick, there is no fireplace or stove, and no gas or propane hookups. The chance of a fire is slim, but please familiarizes yourself with how to use the extinguishers just in case of an emergency.


Emergency Signs

There are now emergency signs posted above the front and laundry/bathroom doors:

This posting is a Fire Department regulation and no action is required by volunteers.


Many thanks to the following individuals for making this change happen:

We are thrilled to have such a wonderful shelter that will serve kitties and the community for decades to come!

  • Dedicated sponsor Glen Aronson, Iron Gate Storage, who donated tens of thousands of dollars over the years to help us purchase the Halfway House and to complete the project.
  • Volunteer Sandi Long for helping to locate the property six years ago and for the many hours she spent overseeing the entire project. Sandi also donated the fire extinguishers and emergency signs.
  • Volunteer handyman Jim Grafmyre for installing fire extinguishers and emergency signs; and exchanging latches for magnets on cage doors. Jim also built a new door for the water heater and insulated windows, among many other projects at the Halfway House.
  • Architects Mark DiLoreto and Chris Baumann of Planning Solutions, Inc., for working on the project and for answering many of our questions without charge. They are truly wonderful architects and genuinely good people.
  • Contractor Jonathan Christopher, Christopher’s Custom Concrete, who did an amazing job and who was a dream to work with. Jonathan answered every call we made and responded to every text or email we sent him. He explained the construction process to us in layman terms and was flexible when we asked him to make minor changes.
  • Civil Engineer Bob Carpenter, Carpenter Engineering, Inc., who created a multifaceted design that keeps storm water on our property instead of flooding into the street. His detailed plans were amazing and his knowledge of the City’s permitting process was immensely helpful.

We are thrilled to have such a wonderful shelter that will serve kitties and the community for decades to come!


Furry Friends is a nonprofit cat adoption organization. Its mission is to help homeless, relinquished and abused cats by providing spaying and neutering, medical care, and foster shelter for as long as it takes to find their forever home. Copyright © 2013 – 2020 Furry Friends. All rights reserved. Website design and development by Christina Roberts.