Where most cities have sidewalks, most Forks streets — such as G Street, shown here — have drainage ditches. Driveways are built like mini-bridges over the ditch. They are only full like this a few times a year, but earn their keep at times like this. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

Where most cities have sidewalks, most Forks streets — such as G Street, shown here — have drainage ditches. Driveways are built like mini-bridges over the ditch. They are only full like this a few times a year, but earn their keep at times like this. (Zorina Barker/for Peninsula Daily News)

WEST END NEIGHBOR: West Enders seek warm meals, generators and water

THE POWER GOING out was fairly predictable, given the stormy weather Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Even still, there isn’t a whole lot my family would do differently except put more buckets under the roof edges of our home and barn to catch water.

We live outside city limits, so when the power goes out, our water pump in our ridiculously deep well (280 feet) doesn’t have power to bring water to our house.

We generally use the water falling from the sky to wash our hands and flush the toilet.

Before we had our current well, we used a different ridiculously deep (260 feet) well that went dry for about half the year.

To make it through the beginning of the dry season, we had our downspouts piped to drain into a big cistern buried at the back of our house.

We still needed power for the pump in the cistern, but we could always take the lid off the cistern and drop a bucket for water during winter blackouts.

We don’t use the cistern setup anymore, so now we put buckets outside when we are on top of things.

A generator might be a partial solution, but that’s one more thing to maintain and there is something to be said for roughing it from time to time.

The city of Forks, however, has its act together when the power goes out.

Most restaurants were closed Sunday, but the rest of the businesses that would usually be open on a Sunday were functioning as usual.

Perhaps the lighting was more romantic, but nobody in the hardware stores seemed in that mood.

Thriftway, Forks’ one-stop store, had a very full parking lot.

Their coffee department was keeping a fast pace and the hardware department was selling the usual blackout items of batteries and lighting.

“We have a generator that runs almost the entire store, except the fresh meat display cases,” said Chad Morris, assistant grocery manager.

He explained that the fresh meat is taken to the back and put into the large walk-in coolers.

According to Morris, the generator comes on automatically within seconds of losing primary power.

“We put plastic covers over the dairy, cheese, juice, lunch meat and eggs,” he added.

Glancing over at the Thriftway deli, Morris said the deli is always a lot busier because people come in wanting the rotisserie chicken and hot case items such as jo-jos.

Walking around the store, I noticed the frozen food aisle was blocked off with carts — presumably to keep the frozen food colder by preventing folks from holding the glass doors open while they figure out what they want.

At the checkout stands were copies of the latest PUD update so all who came through would know what to expect of the power outage.

Over at Forks Community Hospital, Spoons Cafe was doing a brisk business, as well.

“The cafe is always busy because they are the only restaurant open in town,” said Dr. Richard Dickson, who has lived on the West End from his youth.

Indeed, this was the only place to get a warm meal sitting at a table.

Dickson was working in the acute care unit of the hospital.

He said, “We do really well because we have a good backup generator and we just got fuel so we are good for a couple of weeks.”

Dickson explained that Forks Community Hospital is nearly fully functional in a power outage, except they do not perform surgeries as the lighting is not good enough to see to the degree needed for doctors to perform well.

Also, the CAT scan draws too much power and is not used.

Around downtown Forks, not all the coffee shacks were open, but all three gas stations were busy.

Restaurants were dark and lacking the familiar open signs. Neon hotel vacancy signs were on, but the offices were dark.


Zorina Barker lives in the Sol Duc Valley with her husband, a logger, and two children she home-schools.

Submit items and ideas for the column to her at zorina [email protected], or phone her at 360-327-3702. West End Neighbor appears in the PDN every other Tuesday.

Her next column will be Feb. 6.

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