Portland, Oregon is definitely a rainy place as I discovered this weekend while attending the Net Impact conference but it is also known for its bookstores, micro breweries, bicycles and weirdness. These last two items come together when Portland holds its annual naked bike race every summer.
I went to dinner with two of my colleagues from InfoSol, Amy and Teresa, who live and work out of Portland. Teresa was halfway through a two week engagement delivering Xcelsius design consulting services at a client in Oakland, California. She loves her weird home town of Portland so much that she flew back for the weekend.
So I asked her how the project was going and she casually answered, “Fine but it has been difficult to eat out some nights and get some sleep”. Teresa then explained that the hotel she was staying at is less than a block from City Hall, downtown Oakland where the local Occupy Wall Street movement has been camping out and where things got a little out of control this week.
So the night the trouble started, she was walking down the street heading for a restaurant when she ran into a solid wall of Oakland police officers decked out in full riot gear. She turned back and stopped in at a Subway to get a take-out sandwich to bring back to the hotel. She tried to hurry the guy making the sandwich but those “sandwich artists” take their work seriously. As she was paying she saw streams of protesters heading past the Subway in the direction of the riot police and then all hell broke loose as she heard explosions (probably flash bang grenades). By the time she got outside, it looked like a war zone and she scurried back to the hotel.
There was little peace there due to the three police helicopters hovering outside her hotel room on the 26thfloor making sleep almost impossible. Then, just as she thought she might doze off, there was an earthquake causing the building to both shake and sway.
I sat there, hardly believing what I was hearing. Most people would have just packed up and gone home at that point but Teresa delivered her first week of services and will be back again this week to deliver the rest.
Last month another InfoSol consultant, Simon, was delivering Data Integrator services in Washington DC when an earthquake caused the ventilator in the middle of the room to come crashing down. Fortunately nobody was hurt and he finished the services in another location after the building was evacuated.
Wow – this kind of dedication is nothing short of inspirational. Teresa and Simon – you rock!