Volunteering in Portland
I originally planned to be working at a low income clinic for the first stop of this trip. I got up to Oregon in a hurry after my trip to the Dominican Republic and as soon as my car was ready from the shop. On July 2, I left Los Angeles for Portland, spending a night in Oakland and in Eugene. Once I was finally in Portland, I went to go confirm my date with that clinic.
Turns out that in my rush to Portland, I had forgotten to note that the clinic was in Eugene... 100 miles South.
I had a decision to make. Do I bite the bullet and add 200 miles right off the bat? Should I find another opportunity in Portland? Is SPOILERS Jon Snow actually dead? Should I accept my losses and turn back for home now, admitting defeat? I needed a walk to think.
How I came upon the place I would eventually volunteer that first day in Portland was not quite due to a pensive stroll and existential crisis but I did happen upon the opportunity all the same. I just kinda walked up and asked to join.
I had just toured Oregon Health and Science University, which is a beautiful hospital that you can take an alpine-like-air-gondola-ride (photo below) from the Columbia River water front INTO THE LOBBY OF THE HOSPITAL that it is perched upon a hill overlooking the city because why the hell not, and was now walking along the same water front. Turns out that Portland was having the final day of their Blues Festival that afternoon.
So I walked up, after debating whether or not to as if I was asking a girl to dance in 7th grade, and inquired if they have a volunteer tent and if they were in need. They said yes.
I would be working over at the hydration station and later at the medical tent as the day went on. The hydration station was as advertised. I probably filled 500+ water bottles of water in 2 hours before leaving to go help out at the med tent. They said that I had real talent, filling water bottles, and for a brief moment I considered dropping my amateur status and dream of medicine to take up the art of water bottle filling for good, but decided that I would then miss out on too much hospital food, and must carry on for that reason alone. I've been told that sarcasm doesn't come through via text. Just note, that was sarcasm - expect more to come.
All of the people who didn't visit me earlier at the hydration station, came to see us at the medical tent. The tent was staffed with EMTs, nurses, PAs and paramedics. I helped when I could but mostly observed and talked to the other staff.
What happened next started an amazing next 24 hours.
Adventures in Portland
If you don't know who this guy is, then you have got to look him up. Here, I'll spend the 0.3 calories googling him for you - the video features Bill Murray dressed as Elvis introducing him and then Buddy playing a classic blues track at Crossroads Guitar Festival.
One of my favorite parts of the concert was when he turned to the crowd and said, "You know... I used to get into a lot of trouble for using so much profanity on stage.... but now... now that rap has taken over...... I can say whatever the fuck I want."
The next morning I got up early to knock out the Columbia River Highway before driving up to Seattle.
Some of my favorite photos from that morning are below along with some of my other favorite that I took while in Oregon. I'll see you in Seattle.