Nestled in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, the Gorge Academy of Cosmetology & Massage of The Dalles, Oregon, is a salon and trade school specializing in beauty in its own right. A fully accredited school of cosmetology as well as a full-service salon, the Gorge Academy is, as owner Kerri Weed puts it, “the Gorge beauty Headquarters, where we strive to create beauty inside and out.”

Due to the pandemic, the Gorge Academy had to suspend salon operations for months, which meant they couldn’t provide their services to community members for a long period of time. However, on the school side of the business, they were able to continue with some instruction by adhering to strict social-distance and disinfecting protocols. Ultimately, they saw a reduction in students by nearly 50% where only recently they were able to attract students at around 70% of normal.

“We’ve been connected to our community for years and we want to make sure we keep that connection,” says owner Kerri Weed. “Therefore, as part of the Pass It On Project, we are going to be donating our services to the Next Door organization and the Boys and Girls Club. We are going to be providing free salon services to adults and teens who have really been adversely impacted by the pandemic and Columbia Bank is paying the bill.”