Project DOVE board member Jan Pennington (front) and agency director Terry Basford hold up Purple Ribbon Partner Project stickers that will be placed with area businesses. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

ONTARIO – Those fleeing domestic abuse would have more safe refuges in Ontario under a program developed by Project Dove.

The Purple Ribbon Partner Project is designed to offer a temporary safe haven for those in crisis.

Under the program, local businesses will display a purple ribbon sticker in their window or someplace easily visible. A victim fleeing a domestic violence situation can walk into the business with a purple ribbon on display and ask for help.

 “Then they will put them in a waiting room, or some other room, call our crisis line and we will dispatch an advocate to go get them,” said Terry Basford, Project DOVE executive director.

Project DOVE is the only local facility designed to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

“We’ve got about eight or ten businesses already signed on and are hoping to expand that,” said Basford.

To participate, a business can contact Project DOVE at 541-889-6316.

Basford said the new campaign is crucial for those who seek to leave a violent relationship.

“Honestly, the first step is the hardest. This gives the victim a safe place where no questions are asked,” said Basford.

Basford said the program will start small but said she intends for it to gain momentum.

“There will also be an informational piece - fliers for victims - and it is pretty simple,” said Basford.

Basford said the program doesn’t cost a business.

“They are just asked to provide a room and make a call,” said Basford.

The official start of the program will be Saturday, May 22, said Basford, when Project DOVE will sponsor a classic car run and show.

The classic car run will begin at 9 a.m. at Project DOVE’s Unique Boutique at 189 S. Oregon Street in Ontario. From there the cars will travel to Nyssa, the Owyhee Market and Farmers Supply Co-op in Vale before returning to Ontario at the Plaza Inn restaurant.

After the car run, the classic car show will be open from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Plaza Inn parking lot.

Basford said the Purple Ribbon Partner Project is also a way to raise awareness regarding Project DOVE and its services.

“What we are finding out is that Project DOVE is one of the better kept secrets. I am amazed at the number of people who thought we were closed. So, getting information out is our biggest challenge,” said Basford.

Basford said it is important the community as a whole know Project DOVE offers a wide range of services for those in a domestic violence situation.

“We want to help them take the first step and there is never any charge to victims,” said Basford.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

SPECIAL REPORT: Domestic violence is a familiar and persistent crime in Malheur County

SOLUTIONS: Experiences elsewhere seek to quell abuse, providing lessons for Malheur County

SAFEGUARD YOUR LOCAL NEWS

Take one action today to help the Enterprise grow and do more for the community through accurate, fair reporting.

SUBSCRIBE: A monthly digital subscription is $5 a month.

GIFT: Give someone you know a subscription.

ONE-TIME PAYMENT: Contribute, knowing your support goes towards more local journalism you can trust.