The "Little White House" next to the church. Photo: Google Earth

GALES CREEK - A small, old, white house sits next to the Gales Creek Church of God in downtown Gales Creek.

A former resident at the house, Donna Marble, said that she and her husband Bill moved in to the place shortly after it was remodeled around 1971, but she wasn't sure how long it had been around before then.

One thing is certain, though. In the decades after that, the building, housed on church property, has served in many ways, according to Marble.

It's housed those who needed a place to stay. It's served as a clothes closet, a food pantry, a home for those who cleaned the church, a temporary place for those in need of running water.

Overflow from the church nursery has been located in the “little white house,” as some call it, and It's been a home for the Gales Creek Church youth group.

Recently, it's stored items for use by the church and the community, holding signs for the Gales Creek Strawberry Festival and the Gales Creek Holiday Bazaar, among other things.

Over the years, the house has fallen into disrepair, and after Saturday, February 1, it will be no more.

The little white house, taken on Saturday, January 25. Photo: Chas Hundley//Gales Creek Journal

The church has donated the structure to Forest Grove Fire & Rescue for a training burn to take place on Saturday, February 1. 

According to the Matt Johnston, a spokesperson for Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, the training burn is mostly for the benefit of new volunteers who’ve recently graduated from the Fall Academy and need additional live fire training and experience. 

The exercise will begin with a briefing at 8 a.m. at FGF&R’s main headquarters in Forest Grove, and then crews will make their way west to Gales Creek to begin. 

“Because of the small size of the structure, we will only get about 4 to 8 burn evolutions,” Johnston said.

“We set fires with pallets and straw in each room letting the fires build and warm up. We then let new recruits enter as teams with a senior firefighter to experience the heat, flame and smoke activity. They then extinguish the fire. Make sure nothing spread, clear out the smoke and reset for the next room and group,” Johnston explained. 

Once these burn evolutions are complete, the building will be allowed to go into “free burn mode,” Johnston said. 

He estimates this will take place around 11 a.m.

During the exercise, Sargent Road will be blocked, with the nearby Gales Creek School parking lot being used for vehicles. 

“Anyone is more than welcome to watch from the school if they wish,” Johnston said. 

As for the area where the little white house stood, it’s not yet known what the future holds, according to Pastor Tim Townley. 

“Basically [a] gravel and parking area. At least for now,” Townley said. 

The Gales Creek Church of God is located at 9170 NW Sargent Road in Gales Creek.