Q&A with Timoney Korbar and her mom Barbara Korbar
Timoney Korbar, who runs Amazon Prime’s X-Ray international division, moved to Portland in September from Santa Monica, California. She found a house in Sunnyside that also had space for her mom, Barbara, who she moved here from upstate New York a month later. After scoring a vaccine appointment for her mom, she launched Portland Vaccine Helpers, a volunteer-led effort to get Oregon seniors their vaccine appointments. I talked to her about how she fell into vaccine work, her job as a television producer, and why she loves Sunnyside.
When did you settle in Sunnyside?
I just moved in September from L.A. I rescued my mom from upstate New York during the pandemic. We pandemic-moved! She was in a senior apartment complex, and they were not taking COVID seriously. I also had trouble getting her groceries. Luckily, Nextdoor helped me in that time. I joined Nextdoor for Ellenville, NY. A week later, a retired corrections officer offered help. She got her groceries until I moved her to Portland.
Tell me how Portland Vaccine Helpers started?
Once I secured an appointment for my Mom to get vaccinated, I saw how hard and complicated it was. I posted on Nextdoor, “I know how it works if anybody needs help.” The response was overwhelming.
Hundreds of people reached out to me via Nextdoor. I created the back-end to collect information. A week later, I brought in five volunteers to help call people, book appointments and do more back-end work. Luckily, we were able to get appointments for all the seniors. We ended up booking close to 300 people. I myself booked 186 people.
It’s sort of like getting impossible concert tickets! (I used to work in the music industry, and I’m a huge Radiohead fan—I traveled the world to see them touring.) We’re winding down our efforts now. We decided that our main focus was to help seniors and the need from seniors is waning.
And you also have a full time job?
I do. I’m a television producer. I am in charge of X-Ray international premium content for Amazon Studios. I work on a lot of bonus content—the making of, interviews with directors, and so on.
Up until recently my work has been mainly focused in India. I would say my favorite show that I’ve produced content for is called Made in Heaven. It’s about these two people who run a wedding planning business. You get exposed to all the different religions and all the different specifics that go into different types of Indian weddings. It has one of the first gay characters in Indian television. They wrote it when it was still illegal to be gay in India!
I also have a Schitt’s Creek inspired AirBnB downstairs called The RoseBud and Barkfest.
What do you love about Sunnyside?
I looked all over Portland and I really wanted something that was walkable. Eventually, post-pandemic, I want to be able to do fun things like sitting outside and having a beer somewhere, grabbing a bite to eat. I like having the Bagdad Theater down the street.
What attracted me to Portland was that it has a big city feel but you also feel like you’re in a neighborhood. Also, my best friend here is in Woodstock and close family friends are in Northeast. I’m perfectly in the middle of those two. I was looking on the other side of the river, and my friend Erika, in Woodstock, was like, “No! We’ll never see each other.” I also found a house that has an apartment for my mom downstairs. And a bonus AirBnB! So it was the perfect storm.
So I take it you own? Yes. I bought my first house. It’s an amazing feeling but there’s always so much to do.
What is one thing you’d like to see change about Sunnyside?
I can’t really think of anything I’d want to change outside of the potholes. Because I haven’t been here very long, I haven’t really been able to experience as much of Sunnyside as I would like to. It is hard to see the homeless struggling so much in our area.