For those of you who don't know, I work at Doernbecher Children's Hospital which is part of Oregon Health and Sciences University which will be referred to as OHSU from this point forward. OHSU is humongous and sits atop a lovely hill in Portland. The land was apparently donated because it sits along a fault line. Go figure, huge hospital and university perched atop a fault line on top of a hill, brilliant. This whole arrangement of massive buildings and lack of land means no real room for parking.
Here's the thing; I simply refuse to pay $10 a day to park at work. And this is not a good parking spot, this $10 gets you a spot in the farthest lot that is affectionately nicknamed the "get raped" lot. Lovely. At least a ten minute walk.
So- me wanting to save a buck or $30 a week, have been constantly scheming on how to avoid said fees. For my first contract I parked illegally in patient parking by rotating lots and making sure I beat the parking attendant. This was fairly successful until one fateful morning when I hit snooze one too many times and the parking attendant witnessed me getting out of my car, he must've been on to me. After two warning tickets, I got a real live OHSU Parking Services Parking ticket for $100.00. You gasp, but to me I was quite pleased, this was less than a third of what paying for parking would have been for the first 3 months.
This leads me to my second plan. There is a YMCA at the bottom of said hill. (Picture the bottom of Wasatch Blvd leading to the U of U hospital but worse and many more trees and bigger hills; maybe a bad comparison). Let's get to the point. My bro-in-law has a membership to the Y which entitles him to a parking pass there. Until today I was parking at the Y then hiking (this is not an exaggeration) to work. You may ask, what happened yesterday? Well, summer ended and daylight is sparse. I would continue to park at the Y but stumbling down a steep trail while gripping my pepperspray to ward off the homeless no longer seems like a good idea. And eventually the Y may catch on.
Here's where things start looking up. I am not the only one always trying to avoid paying to go to work and one of my coworkers has done much research on the subject. Said coworker found a lot close to the tram (multi million dollar project that connects downtown Portland to OHSU) that is only $3 a day, for the whole day! It's about a 7 minute walk to the tram (I timed it myself) and then I get to enjoy Portland in all it's glory. You can see all of the bridges and downtown Portland and it looks great in the sunrise. I had no idea what I was missing out on! And on top of that- the tram provides great opportunity for eavesdropping, one of my favorite past times. (Not in a bad, gossipy, nosy old-lady kind of way; more of a people are very amusing kind of way.) This morning I learned all about bad popcorn that sticks to your teeth, why we all work to get microwave ovens, Mr. Anderson and myriad of other interesting snippets.
So what if I have to leave my house at 0610 to make it to work by 0700, today it was well worth the hassle and the $3. I hope I feel the same way when the rain starts!