Headlines are filled with more closings, more confirmed cases, more deaths and more economic woes.
I’d like to interrupt the programming for an important message: In spite of the myth that crisis brings out the worst in people, Lake Oswegans are reaching out to help their neighbors.
Research tells us we shouldn’t be surprised by that fact. In looking at how the local community responded to Hurricane Katrina, researchers concluded that “While there are isolated cases of antisocial behavior, which tend to be highlighted by the media, most people respond positively and generously.”
Part of the reason for that is our need for human connection. We are wired to be social creatures—cut us off from that and we will find a way to feel connected, even it’s virtually or from six feet away.
Another reason, science tells us, is our need to tap into some other form of control when we feel so out of control. Depending on our thinking, we may look to government, God, or the universe. Scientists suggest that we make “karmic investments” in helping behaviors in hopes of improving our outcomes by working ourselves into the good graces of the powers that be.
Whatever the motivation, I can speak from my own experience that bad times bring out the good in Lake Oswegans.
During the flood of 1996, our canal front home was threatened with water flowing over the Oswego Canal headgate. Without picking up a phone and calling for help, friends, neighbors and even strangers showed up in our backyard to form a sandbag assembly line. They showed up after the threat was gone, to do the same thing, in reverse.
So to offer a bright spot in the steady dose of bad news the headlines seem to be carrying daily, I’d like to shine the light on some examples of neighbors helping neighbors.
• Like the friend I ran into (honoring our six feet social distance) while on a walk who said she was picking up coffee at the downtown Peet’s store for a neighbor whose compromised health prevented him from doing so. “All of us neighbors keep checking in to see how we can help,” she explained.
• Tavern on Kruse has gotten creative in order to stay open on a takeout basis while supporting the unemployed. On Tuesdays and Fridays, patrons can take home partially prepared meals which they can finish off at home, thanks to video instruction provided by Tavern chefs online. For every paid meal, the restaurant is providing a free meal to someone who is unemployed. On Tuesday, March 31, the paid takeout option is red-wine and veal stock braised short ribs for $29. So far all the paid meals have sold out including Tuesday’s so be sure to check regularly. Free meals contain less expensive ingredients along the lines of fried children with mac n’ cheese and shepherd’s pie with Caesar salad. In the beginning, owner Kent Lewis was starting out with just 25 dinners/night and will move forward as the demand dictates. They say necessity is the mother of invention and this is a wonderful example of just that!
• Residents are encouraging others to support their local businesses, either by ordering takeout or buying gift certificates.
• Neighbors are offering to help in any way they can from cleaning, watching kids, grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions.
• The Lake Oswego School District mailed Safeway gift cards to families whose children receive free and reduced lunches.
• Hunger Fighters Oregon extended their hours the weekend of March 13-16 and served three times their normal number of clients thanks to the help of 40 volunteers, 25 of whom were new. Extended hours in the future include Wednesday, April 1 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays have been open from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Volunteers are taking extra precautions to serve while still maintaining social distance with roadside service. Location: 2301 Hazel Road in the green house garage.
• One neighbor with an extra refrigerator responded to a call for help from another neighbor whose refrigerator had just broken down after he had loaded it up with supplies. And then another neighbor offered to pick up and deliver the refrigerator with his truck.
• Neighbors posted DIY pictures of shamrocks in their windows on St. Patrick’s Day to support parents taking their children out for a shamrock hunt.
• Another neighbor on Cardinal left out free flower vases on a flower stand for her neighbors to take and/or share with a friend.
• Some local restaurants (in the Portland metro area) are offering free meals to kids during this crisis. I want to give a shout-out to Break Bread Sandwich Shop which is owned and operated by one of my son’s good friends and just recently closed temporarily after a valiant effort to remain open. Despite the challenges he faces as a young restaurant entrepreneur, he was offering free kids meals on a takeout basis—no questions asked. And tapping into community goodwill generated by his example, he was paying forward financial support he had received from friends and family by offering a free sandwich to anyone needing a little extra help. Check out his Instagram account at @breakbreadpdx. 1106 NW Hoyt Street. 971.339.9015.
• One resident suggested on social media that we all take time out each day to thank the grocery store manager, gas station attendant, pharmacist, parcel delivery person for keeping things running in the midst of all this chaos and taking more risk than the rest of us. “Share the gratitude,” he advised. Well said!
If you hear of any other examples of how we are “getting by with a little help from our friends,” please post here. Our readers would love to hear it!
Wishing you all wellness vibes. And if you have any questions about how the COVID-19 crisis might impact your plans to buy or sell a home, please feel free to give me a call at 503.939.9801. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.