Major gas outage in Ashland affects local businesses

ASHLAND, Ore. — “It’s been a crazy day,” Owner of Winchester Inn, Drew Gibbs, said.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, thousands of people woke up without gas, hot water or heat.

Avista Utilities said the outage occurred from a pressure problem in the natural gas pipeline. That caused approximately 4,500 customers to lose their gas, hot water or heat.

Those customers included businesses, residences, hotels, and even universities in Ashland.

That outage left many restaurants with no other choice but to close for the day.

“We, unfortunately, had to close our doors for the dining portion of the restaurant,” Gibbs said.

The Winchester Inn is a hotel and a restaurant, it also has a bar. The hotel portion has a total of 24 rooms and only three of them had hot water on Tuesday.

“Most of the property is all run by gas, we only have a couple of rooms that have an electric water heater,” Gibbs said. “It’s been a scramble to make sure that one, we have heat in all the rooms and two, everyone has hot water to use.”

Employees at Winchester Inn were sent to buy space heaters for the rooms that had no heat. The hotel also tried to accommodate their guests as much as possible by sending up extra bottles of wine.

“You go that extra mile to make sure they’re taken care of.”

The Inn was forced to close its fine dining restaurant which serves food like lobster, steak and elk, all items that need to be cooked on a stove. However, Gibbs and the chefs were able to find a way to keep the bar open, offering salads and even buying a griddle to cook burgers.

“We’ll have more cold items, if we can find some extra equipment to cook off of for some small appetizer type things for hot items, we’ll do that.”

Not all businesses were negatively affected by the outage. Some restaurants like Pangia in Ashland actually saw a boost in customers.

The restaurant serves mostly cold items that don’t need gas to make.

“We had a pretty big lunch rush, nothing too out of the ordinary but definitely more than a normal Tuesday afternoon,” Rebecca Dixon, waitress and cook at Pangia, said.

Whether it was a negative or positive impact, restaurants and businesses weren’t the only ones who were affected by the outage.

Southern Oregon University residence halls and cafeteria also lost hot water, heat, and gas.

“We had to take cold showers, the sink was cold, we went to a few restaurants and most of them were closed,” Izaiha Bruce, Southern Oregon University freshman said.

The University was able to provide cold meals and set up a barbeque grill to cook warm food for students.

View our original article here.

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