University of Oregon dining halls recovering after power outage

Dining Halls and other buildings on the University of Oregon campus experienced a power outage at 10 a.m. Monday, January 7 when a transmission feeder line overheated and ignited.  The incident happened in a tunnel between the UO Health Center and the Waltoncomplex.

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Gloria Hartvisgen of Hamilton Dining said “we had to make due” during the power outage that knocked out power to dining halls earlier this week.

Generators were installed next to buildings, but food services like Hamilton dining—which serves up to 5,000 students each day–were greatly impacted.

Hamilton complex chef Michele Taylor was going to her break when the power went out.  She says the hardest part of the outage was not having refrigeration for the thousands of dollars worth of product the dining hall carries, as well as not having hot water.  In her 9 years working for dining services, Taylor says she has never seen anything like this.

“We’re feeling the aftermath of all of this,” Taylor said.  “It’s going to be a few days before things get back to normal.”

The outage affected every food station within the hall except the sandwich bar.  Workers transferred perishable food to Barnhart’s dining hall, which had electricity, but much of the food was inedible.  Menus were also reorganized and products were substituted.

“We had a fridge truck outside to keep cold food in,” said Gloria Hartvigsen, who works for Hamilton dining.  “…We had to make do.”

Freshman Jamias Jones woke up in Bean Hall during the outage.  He ate his meals in Living Learning Center dining, which had power.  Jones says he wasn’t frustrated, but instead inconvenienced and spent most of the day in a friend’s residence hall with electricity.  “I went to class and didn’t come back,” Jones said.

Electricity was returned to Hamilton dining at 10:30p.m. Monday, but they are still recovering.  Student identification numbers used to purchase food had to be hand written during the outage, and workers are now entering those numbers into their payment system.

“It was dead,” Taylor said about the lack of students in the dining hall.  “The deadest I’ve seen since I’ve worked here.”

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