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Nurse Helps Shelter Patients from Depoe Bay Weather

By Tricia Schug

Many patients at Samaritan Depoe Bay Clinic take the bus to and from their appointments, and until very recently, the bus stop was just that: a spot along the curb where the bus stopped, with no shelter or place to sit. Thanks to Ruth Moreland, RN, care coordinator for the clinic, bus riders now have a shelter at the stop to protect them from the elements and a place to sit while waiting.

“The bus system here is reliable, but not frequent, and sometimes people will wait up to four hours standing in the wind and rain for the next bus,” Moreland said. “We can see the bus stop from our clinic window and we see them wait.”

As a nurse, she worried about the health effects of standing in the rain and wind, and one day, she decided to do what she could to help her patients. 

She began by contacting Lincoln County Transit asking for a bus shelter, and then a few weeks later, made a presentation to elected officials at a Depoe Bay City Council meeting. These extra tasks were something Moreland saw as an extension of her role as a care coordinator.

“As a nurse, I’m an advocate for patients and as a care coordinator in a primary care clinic, I look at patient needs in a holistic way,” she said. 

After the City Council approved the shelter, Lincoln County Transit got a grant with the Oregon Department of Transportation to help pay for the shelter and installation. A year or more after Ruth raised the issue, the City of Depoe Bay installed two new bus shelters in April on both sides of Highway 101.

“This was a kind of golden moment for all of us, it worked out so well,” said Cynda Bruce, program manager with Lincoln County Transit. “We want to meet the needs of our community, and it was just wonderful that this nurse came forward with a need like that.”

Depoe Bay Mayor Robert Gambino agrees. 

“It has really been a coordinated effort between the City and Lincoln County Transit to get this installed,” said Gambino. “The City supplied the labor to clean up the area, laid the concrete and got the shelter installed. For the citizens of Depoe Bay and the patients who use the clinic, this shelter is an important thing.”

On Tuesday, May 7, Gambino joined Moreland and staff from Samaritan Depoe Bay Clinic inside the new shelter, where they cut the ceremonial ribbon officially opening it for residents.

“For many years, even before the clinic was here, people have needed a bus shelter,” he said. “This is a great thing for our community.”

Clinic manager, Jennifer Synder, said that patients have been appreciative.

“Our patients tell us how much better it is having the shelter. A few would wait for the bus in our waiting room, which was not an option outside of business hours,” said Snyder.

“Ruth’s interest in our community and desire to care for all people is genuine,” she added. “Her mission for the bus stop shelters in Depoe Bay demonstrates her concern for patients that extends far beyond the clinic walls.”