PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Though two of the busiest vaccination sites in Portland shut down Saturday – the Oregon Convention Center and The Red Lot at Portland International Airport — leaders at each location said they felt a sense of accomplishment and made a real difference.
“I feel like it’s probably one of the most important things I’ve done in my life to be part of such an historic event really,” said Connie Amos, the site leader for the PDX Mass Vaccination Clinic.
She said they’ve administered more than 250,000 vaccines and served more than 100,000 people in partnership with OHSU, the Red Cross and the Port of Portland.
“It really was an opportunity to bring the Port’s logistics expertise. We know how to set things up and move people and things around,” said Kama Simonds with the Port of Portland. “OHSU, obviously, brings the medical knowledge and the vaccine and the Red Cross brings the volunteers. So together it was a pretty awesome team.”
MaryJane Rose, the Volunteer Lead Organizer for the site, said it’s been “an amazing 5 months. And when we called to respond to help with the vaccination site, our volunteers came out in droves. … We’ve been through rainy days. There’s been some hot days.”
Red Cross volunteers toughed it out to help with traffic control and other duties to get patients through the clinics efficiently.
“What we are seeing happening in our community today, people going back out, people going into parks again, people having dinners again, that could not have happened without these vaccinations,” Rose said.
The mass clinic at the Oregon Convention Center vaccinated the last of its patients on Saturday. For Chris Markesino the Operations Chief at the Convention Center, it was an historic time.
“As we close today, I really feel accomplished, like we did something historic here and really made a difference in our community,” he told KOIN 6 News. “I really want to thank the staff. They were the ones that really made this a success. And I want to say thank you to the families as well because I know the families endured a lot of time missing their loved ones.”
He said they will document everything, including lessons they learned — just in case they have to do this again.
“We are preparing for the worst, which might be a booster shot, so that’s why we are storing everything and cataloging it meticulously so we know where it’s all at in case the state asks us to set something up again like this,” he said.
The mass vaccination site at the Hillsboro Stadium remains open. It will remain open until Friday and no appointments are needed. Both walk-ups and drive-ups are available, and are available to anyone 12 years and older.
Gov. Kate Brown said as of Saturday, Oregon needs just 51,616 more people to take their shot to hit the statewide goal of 70% vaccination.