IBEW Local 48 hosts ‘drive thru’ picnic for 6,700 members

COVID-19 restrictions are still making it difficult for folks to get back to normal, but the worldwide pandemic didn’t stop IBEW Local 48 from holding its popular summer picnic.

Having to cancel the picnic in 2020 because of the pandemic, the local brainstormed on how to make it happen this year.

“I got a wild hair to try a drive thru picnic. I presented it to the Executive Board and got the green light,” said Tracey Powers, financial assistants/communications director for Local 48.

The picnic was held in shifts over two Sundays in July.

On July 11, 4,200 members pre-registered and were assigned time slots between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to drive to the union hall in Northeast Portland to pick up a bag filled with barbecued brisket and chicken, mac and cheese, potato salad, and dinner rolls. During the registration process members indicated how many lunches they needed for their family. Powers said the food was a step up from their traditional summer picnic at Oaks Park, where hot dogs and hamburgers were served.

Members also got a T-shirt, a lawn sign, and raffle tickets for a chance to win a great prize. 

Kiosks were set up throughout the parking lot at the union hall, and members drove from station to station to pick up each item.

That scenario was repeated on July 26 for another 2,500 members.

“It went really well,” Powers said. “The members seemed very appreciative that we made the effort to have a summer picnic at all.”

Powers said, too, that it couldn’t have happened without the 60-plus volunteers from the local, which included members, apprentices, officers, Executive Board, staff, and the credit union.

MORE: See photos or videos from the event

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