Certainty may be in short supply, but one thing remains constant as Oregonians adjust to life during a pandemic: acts of kindness.
Last week, the state announced schools would shut down until at least late April and the food service industry reduced business to a trickle. By Monday, March 23, thousands of residents were left unemployed in the span of a week.
Despite that, some have mobilized to cover basic needs for their neighbors, while others have found ways to cut through the social isolation and angst.
Last Saturday, Portland's Metro Youth Pipe Band gathered outside the Maryville skilled nursing facility in Beaverton, where they played outside as senior residents listened from indoors.
Nursing homes and other senior care sites remain off-limits to visitors, as authorities try to keep elderly and at-risk populations isolated from the general public.
"As residents are not able to gather for activities and visits are restricted, it's great to have these young bag pipe musicians share their talent while maintaining safe social distancing," said Stacy Kean, communications officer with Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation.
In one Beaverton neighborhood, a household set out a table of free food and staple items accompanied by a sign: "Free. Take what you need." There was hand soap, bread, baby wipes, and yes, even toilet paper. The gesture was shared within a Facebook group and before long, others posted photos of their own free spreads to passersby.
Others seek to provide small tokens of comfort or inspiration in the way of handmade decorations, messages, or stuffed teddy bears displayed in the windows of homes.
Elsewhere in Washington County, a group of teachers in the Tigard-Tualatin School District helped with donated funds and food to shop, pack and deliver food to underserved Latino communities where students couldn't get out to pick up lunches from school meal sites. The meal delivery mission was made possible with help from Packed With Pride, a joint effort of the Foundation for Tigard-Tualatin Schools, Tigard-Tualatin Education Association, the Tigard-Tualatin Student Union, and TTSD school board members Maureen Wolf and Ben Bowman.
"Packed With Pride gave us some funds, and we went and bought some culturally specific foods like tortillas, beans and rice, and once we had those things in boxes, we went ahead and took them to the neighborhoods where we know they're in need," David Jaimes, a third-grade teacher at Bridgeport Elementary School said. "I opened up my van with the boxes I had, and several neighbors came out of their houses. There's definitely a big need, and one that is being unmet right now."
Jaimes said the food delivery is especially critical for families who have avoided going in public since the heightened presence of immigration enforcement agents in Washington County. "If you're an undocumented family, then you're afraid to leave the house," Jaimes said.