We have had quite a stretch of wintry weather in Portland over the past week. When the snow started to fall on Wednesday it started an epic traffic jam throughout the city.
I work at a 523 bed hospital on the west side of the city. There is a range of hills between the hospital and downtown. There are limited ways up and over those hills – and Wednesday afternoon’s snowfall combined with everyone desperately trying to get home exactly at 3:00 was too much.
Tales of commutes taking 7-8 hours were common. Just getting off our campus was taking hours since all the streets surrounding the hospital were jammed. At one point I went to the parking lot and hospital roads with a big bag of treats to keep these poor souls fed. I handed out over 200 treats to grateful colleagues.
I was helping with logistics of getting critical clinical staff into work or finding a bed for those who were staying the night. I witnessed how hard our support teams work to make sure our employees, our guests and our patients are taken care of. In this blog post I have included pictures of some of those amazing people.
When we realized people couldn’t get home – our kitchen staff went to work cooking up pans and pans of macaroni and cheese. For guests who couldn’t pay – we gladly gave them a free meal. We shuttled staff and guests to the nearest transit center so they could get a train home. Our linen team put together overnight packs with sheets, blankets, towels and toiletry items.
This isn’t my first winter storm event while working at the hospital but it goes down as one of the most memorable and the most heart warming. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well.