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Tree-stricken Sisters restaurant picks up pieces

By Femi Abebefe
Published On: Dec 02 2013 08:59:32 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 03 2013 12:49:41 AM CST

Sunday afternoon the Ski Inn restaurant was destroyed when a Ponderosa tree fell through the building due to high winds. NewsChannel 21's Femi Abebefe reports on how Monday employees returned to the site to pick up the pieces.

SISTERS,Ore. -

The Ski Inn has been in a staple in the Sisters community for 41 years. But on Monday, the restaurant's employees were picking up the pieces after a tall Ponderosa pine tree smashed into the place, fortunately causing no serious injuries.

One person suffered minor injuries , but it's nothing compared to the impact this accident will have for years to come on the family-owned restaurant and its regular clientele.

"I mean, we've got lifers here that have been here since I was a baby,” Manager Carrie McGonagle said.“It's been in my family for 41 years, so I grew up here -- I grew up on those bar stools."

McGonagle's grandparents opened the Ski Inn in 1972, and for the foreseeable future, this Sisters mainstay will be closed as they try to rebuild.

Madison Vickery was working, and at first, she thought it was an earthquake. When she realized what was happening, she noticed a fellow waitress.

"As the windows and everything popped, I could see the wind blow her hair and she kind of fell forward," Vickery said. "And I could see the reader board where our menu and prices are come down crashing towards her head."

That waitress was Amanda Anderson. She landed in the emergency room and was diagnosed with a minor concussion. She can't shake the memory.

“I relived it six times this morning at 6:30 when I woke up,” Anderson said. “Every time I closed my eyes, everything just kept coming through. I just relived it a couple times this morning."

McGonagle said she's trying to keep things in perspective.

"I thank the Lord that nobody got hurt and nobody died yesterday,” McGonagle said. “We've got a lot of people that come in and out of this place and it's really scary. It's really scary."

Since the accident, the town has rallied behind the restaurant and its employees.

"After the fact, just knowing I'm not going to come to work this morning or be able to care for the patrons that come here on a regular basis -- it's just heart-wrenching to know that some of us are out of work," Vickery said. "But the community, though, has come together."

Some community members have set up a bank account to help -- you can donate to the Ski Inn Employee Donation Account at any Bank of the Cascades branch, to help the displaced workers.

In the meantime, The Porch Restaurant has allowed the Ski Inn to serve their famous breakfast as they start the rebuilding process.

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