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Downtown Portland hotels sold out, help those stranded by snowstorm

Hotels booked up fast during Wednesday’s snow storm, as lot of people were caught off guard. Some helped with a warm spot in the lobby when they ran out of rooms.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland area hotels booked up fast during Wednesday’s snowstorm, and they seemed to remain that way through Thursday night, as a lot of people were caught off guard and needing help.

A relatively new hotel in downtown Portland had some of the last rooms available and Sally Coulter got one of them. Her car broke down last night a mile away from the Hotel Vance.

"When I got here, I was wet and cold. I had to wait a little while for my room, but once I got it, I was very, very  grateful," said Coulter.

It was the same story for a young man working for the moving company Portland Move, whose 22-foot truck could not go any further in the snow storm. He and his boss hiked a mile and a half to get to the hotel.

“We had to go uphill, downhill we saw all kinds of stranded cars everywhere. People were just leaving their cars and walking,” said Kevin Hill.

It was an awful and chaotic night on the roads for many. Hotel rooms were a welcome relief for those who could get them. After Hotel Vance sold out, they let people stay warm and dry in the lobby. Others did the same.

“Full disclosure, I was someone looking for a room last night about 1 o'clock in the morning. I felt like I couldn't get home safely from work, so I stopped at the Holiday Inn Express off Northwest Vaughn. And what I found was they were out of rooms but not out of hospitality,” said KGW reporter Tim Gordon.

“People like yourself were coming looking for rooms and such, and so we did the best to accommodate them. But we didn't have any rooms at the inn,” said hotel General Manager Dave Forni.

“We had people sleeping in every corner here with pillows. Then we had people here,” said head housekeeper Nanette Sutherland.

Nanette and her staff got those without a room pillows and blankets and in the morning a hot meal.

It was appreciated by many like Amy Donnenworth, who slept in the lobby instead of at home in Beaverton.

“Goodness, I tried to get home for 9 hours. And the most important thing is they were so kind, so kind. And I’m so grateful,” said Donnenworth.

“Amazing,” said Sutherland. And that's what we're here for, to help people; everybody should.”

Gordon was thankful for the offer but ended up back at the KGW newsroom, where he found a couch in a dark room for the night.

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