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Biscuits Cafe server steps up when power goes out

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: KENDRA HOGUE - Bethany Village Biscuits Café waitress Savannah Baske serves lunch customers Rebecca Blumberg Wednesday afternoon after a power outage left thousands of Washington County residents without power.Savannah Baske had no idea when she arrived at work at 6 a.m. Wednesday that a squirrel across town would soon turn her workday upside-down.

The 18-year-old has been a waitress at the Bethany Village Biscuits Café restaurant, 4744 N.W. Bethany Blvd., for about six months and was the only waitress on duty Wednesday morning, with one cook in the back. Her first indication that something was askew was when her mother called shortly after dropping her off to tell her all the streetlights were off.

“Around 7 a.m. we started to get really busy and there were a bunch of phone calls to ask if we were open,” Baske says, shrugging.

Soon, all of the restaurant’s 24 tables were packed with customers — some unkempt and grumpy. “They hadn’t had their coffee yet, so I’d be grumpy too,” says Baske.

More than 10,000 customers in Washington County had lost power because a squirrel was scampering around at a substation across town, according Portland General Electric officials. Biscuits had power, but many neighboring homes and businesses didn’t.

“Somebody said it was a squirrel and I said, 'What? That’s crazy!' ”

She didn’t have a moment to call for reinforcements as she served 24 tables in two rooms, including three parties of more than 10 people. “On a typical Wednesday morning, between 7 and 9, we’ll have about $200 in sales. I had $738 in sales, all by myself.”

The crowd was comparable to a weekend morning, when Baske says the restaurant typically has four servers on staff and three in the kitchen. “Most people were nice, I made good tips,” says Baske, smiling.

At 1:30 p.m., she was still serving — to a much lighter lunch crowd, some of whom had power restored to their homes.