Providence nurses in Portland and Seaside plan 5-day strike starting Monday

By Amelia Templeton (OPB)
June 15, 2023 12:39 a.m.

About 1,800 Providence nurses plan to strike and the health system is moving patients, delaying surgeries and bringing in temporary staff.

Portland could be on the brink of its first hospital strike in more than 20 years. About 1,800 Providence nurses — many of them based in Portland — plan to strike and the health system is bringing in temporary staff starting next Monday.

Contract negotiations broke down for nurses in three units: Providence Portland Medical Center, Providence Seaside Hospital, and Providence Home Health and Hospice.


Providence responded to the strike notice by canceling the remaining bargaining sessions.

“Our team is ready to solve this difference and come to an agreement before the strike begins if Providence changes their mind,” said Kimberly Martin, a Providence nurse on the negotiating team for the union. “We’d rather be at the bedside than on the sidewalk.”


Martin said nurses need better working conditions, sick leave and pay.

Providence Portland Medical Center in Northeast Portland pictured on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

Providence Portland Medical Center in Northeast Portland pictured on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

Courtney Sherwood / OPB

The strike is set to last five days. Providence is preparing to cut back some services in Oregon in response to strike plans. The health system has also hired temporary workers through the staffing agency U.S. Nursing.

Providence Portland Medical Center, a hospital that normally cares for up to 400 patients a day, will remain open but has rescheduled all surgeries and is transferring patients out of some specialty units, including the neonatal intensive care unit.

“You know, we do expect long wait times, potentially, in our emergency department,” said Krista Farnham, Providence Portland Medical Center chief executive. “Of course, we want you to come here if you have an emergency, but if you can go somewhere else, we recommend you do that.”

Providence Seaside Hospital on Oregon’s north coast has also rescheduled all surgeries for next week.

Both Providence Portland and Providence Seaside will continue to see emergency patients.