I just returned from Orlando, Florida, where along with several other members of the Oregon Chapter, we attended PWX 2017. This gathering of members of the American Public Works Association, from chapters and branches throughout the United States and Canada, also included representatives from over 20 other countries. This was an amazing time, as I not only got to represent the Oregon Chapter in receiving the President’s Award For Chapter Excellence (PACE), but also received the Oregon Chapter's first ever Membership Achievement Award. I also was honored to join in congratulating the City of Gresham, Moore Excavation, and Murrysmith for receiving recognition as a National as a Project of the Year. I also helped cheer for Oregon’s Top Ten recipient, Jeanne Nyquist. Attending PWX provided me the opportunity to attend many great and relevant presentations, the first APWA Backhoe Rodeo competition, but most importantly, meet many outstanding members of the public works profession and community.
In the challenges we all face, and our commitment to our communities, we are much more alike than different
We discussed many differences and similarities, problems and solutions from different parts of the county, finding that in the challenges we all face, and our commitment to our communities, we are much more alike than different. I know that I, along with other members of the Oregon Chapter that attended PWX, came away with new ideas, new inspiration, and many new friends. The Oregon Chapter received the PACE award for the 17th time, which is quite an achievement. It would not have been possible without the hard work of Immediate Past President, Delora Kerber, and Eric Jones, who spent many hours collecting and putting together the information for the award application from the Oregon Chapter.
Chapter Delegate Dan Boss, Immediate Past President Delora Kerber, President-Elect Jenifer Willer, and I attended the National APWA Presidents reception, welcoming Bo Mills as the incoming national president. We also took the opportunity to congratulate Jill Marilley as the incoming President- Elect, and the new region 9 Director Dan Hartman. Dan in the current Director of Public Works for the City of Golden, Colorado, and I look forward to his support of the Oregon Chapter.
Plans are all but finished for our fall conference, which will be held October 17 – 20, 2017 in Pendleton. One of my goals this year as president is to enhance and strengthen chapter relationships, both professionally and personally, and between other professional organizations. This year, working towards this goal, the Oregon and Washington State chapters agreed to send a representative for each of their chapters to the others conferences. I attended Washington States spring conference in Tacoma this April, and the Washington State Chapter's Immediate Past-President, Kirk Holms, will be attending our fall conference in Pendleton.
Other special guests at the Oregon Chapter's fall conference will include our new Region 9 Director, Dan Harman, from Golden, Colorado, APWA National President, Bo Mills, from Germantown, Tennessee, and the current AWWA National President, Brenda Lennox, from Touchet, Washington. The theme for the conference is “Embracing New Technology in the Real West” Registration is open and I know that our host and Conference Chair, Bob Patterson, always puts on an outstanding conference, and extends the City of Pendleton’s “Western Hospitality” to everyone in attendance.
The fall conference will present an opportunity for attendees to not only attend informative and timely presentations, but to also renew old friendships, strengthen and enhance current ones, and to meet people with similar career goals and a desire to serve or communities, to build new relationships with.
One other item as I write this, the state of Texas has experienced devastating damage from Hurricane Harvey, and Oregon is experiencing unprecedented forest and wildland fires. These are very real reminders that we as public works professionals are first responders, and the last to leave, and that we need to constantly learn, train, and prepare to be ready to respond when our communities need us. The Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association helps provide another avenue to help us prepare be ready.
I look forward to seeing everyone in Pendleton.
Russ Thomas, 2017 Chapter President
Let 'er Buck in High Tech
In Pendleton This Fall
City of Pendleton Public Works is looking forward to hosting you at the 2017 Oregon Chapter Fall Conference. With the theme of “Public Works – Embracing New Technology in the Real West,” Pendleton continues its focus on western traditions and being at the forefront of innovation and technology.
The conference is packed with great technical presentations and a “new product showcase” being rolled out by the PW Tech Committee. This will allow an opportunity for ten 30-minute “new product” presentations in Happy Canyon 2 that will be concurrent with the regularly scheduled technical session beginning Wednesday and ending after the fifth overall technical session for the conference on Thursday afternoon. The committee has coordinated this effort with the exhibitor registration and will screen and select their top ten “new product” presentations – rolling out the sessions at the conference. Check the fall conference web page for listings and updates.
Technology tours are offered for the city’s membrane water filtration plant, aquifer storage, recovery and hydropower well, and wastewater treatment resource recovery facility. There is also a tour of the National Weather Service Pendleton office and National Guard facility and the city’s Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Range and Innovation Center.
Golf (ball and disc) tournaments are on the agenda too. Everyone will be provided an opportunity to get away from the conference center and enjoy downtown with three live performances on both nights, along with an opportunity to register for the Pendleton Underground & Cozy Rooms Tour. Circular transportation from the hotels to downtown and return will be provided for evening activities. And for our special non-conference attending guests, there's a guest program that includes wine tasting and shopping on an all-day trip to Clay-In-Motion, a catered lunch, Zerba Cellars, and Castillo De Feliciana.
Pendleton Convention Center is also having several upgrades completed before the fall conference. Extended high-speed internet is being provided with 1 gigabyte/second Ethernet service and 200 megabyte/second wireless service with additional access points for full coverage throughout the facility and outside to the parking lot and RV area. Painting of the entire exterior is underway, and a new roof should be in place by the time of the conference.
Here's a tip from the Public Works Technology Committee on how to create an easy-to-find fall conference link on your mobile device. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1. On your Android phone, use Google or Chrome browser, or on your iPhone use Safari to search for or navigate to Oregon APWA Conference 2017, or type “//oregon.apwa.net/EventDetails/12052” and it will take you directly to the 2017 Fall Conference event page.
2. With the web page showing, on your Android phone click on the three-dot dropdown menu on the tool bar in the upper right corner, or on your iPhone click on the page with an up-arrow on the tool bar located at the bottom, and then click on Add to Home Screen.
3. A box for "add to home screen" will pop up giving you an opportunity to title the link – the default is 2017 APWA Oregon Chapter Fall Conference. Click on "add" and it will be added to your smart phone home screen for linking to all posted information at the fall conference. Follow these steps to make it easy to link to other important web pages and events on your smart phone.
Message from Order of Golden Knuckle
Since 1987, the Golden Knuckle (aka Gizmo) has been awarded to “deserving” chapter members, forever placing them into the Order of the Golden Knuckle. At every spring and fall conference, a “lucky” chapter member receives the Gizmo and adds his or her own embellishments to it. In 1993, Larry Rice, award recipient, requested that the chapter turn the award into a fundraiser for the Oregon APWA Education Foundation. Over the last 30 years, Gizmo has raised over $230,000, helping fund 193 scholarships through the Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation.
Last April, we welcomed Ken Stoneman to the Order of the Golden Knuckle, and we did so in grand style; raising close to $8,500 for scholarships. As we look forward to Pendleton in October, a new coterie of candidates to ascend to the throne of the Golden Knuckle is emerging. Are you one of them? What can you do now to ensure you’re not on the dreaded "blue sheet?" The answer: contact the Golden Knuckle consiglieres, (Krey “the Mouth” Younger and Tony “Busted Toes” Roos). With a commitment to provide an auction item or raffle prize, you can delay your inevitable nomination as a named candidate. We already have the list started, and you know who you are!
We are also soliciting for deserving candidates. With an early commitment of $100 to the foundation, you can nominate your candidate for the "blue sheet" at the conference. With the early nomination comes the right to campaign for your candidate and help craft their message why they deserve the Golden Knuckle Award. Blue-sheet nominations are due by September 20.
Remember, vote early (donate) and vote often (donate more)!
Chapter Shines at PWX 2017
The Public Works event of the year is in the books as thousands of people, including more than a dozen from Oregon, descended on Orlando, Florida, to learn, be inspired, and make new connections.
Several chapter members served as presenters during PWX 2017. Jeannie Nyquist was recognized as a 2017 Top Ten public works leader, while the City of Gresham, Moore Excavation and Murrysmith received a National Project of the Year award. The Oregon Chapter received its 17th Presidential Award for Chapter Excellence and first Membership Achievement Award.
"It was an honor to accept on behalf of the Oregon Chapter the APWA PACE, and it was extra special to have the Chapter members who attended the ceremony showing their support of our chapter by joining Ron, Russ and me on stage," said Delora Kerber, the chapter's immediate past president.
PWX also marked the welcoming of the new APWA President Bo Mills and President-Elect Jill Marilley (from Region IX).
15 Scholarships Awarded
The Oregon APWA Scholastic Foundation has awarded 15 scholarships totaling $24,750 for the 2017-2018 school year. The scholarship recipients are: Tracy Salgado, $3,000 civil engineering scholarship at George Fox University Savannah Hensley, $750 Merle Langley Memorial Scholarship at Lane Community College Kurtis Pipkin, $3,000 civil engineering scholarship at Oregon Institute of Technology Maxwell Beaudoin, $1,000 Ron Polvi Scholarship at Oregon State University Damon Greenshields, $1,500 Allen A. Alsing civil engineering scholarship at Oregon State University Nicholas Hossley, $3,000 geomatics/geotechnical scholarship at Oregon State University Scott Sinclair, $500 Don and Cathy Schut Scholarship at Oregon State University Mikhaela Sample, $3,000 geomatics/geotechnical scholarship at Portland State University Ke Lillah Slingluff, $1,000 Past Presidents Scholarship at Portland State University Nathan White, $2,000 Michael Lindberg Scholarship at Portland State University Cole Smith, $750 civil engineering scholarship at Southwestern Oregon Community College John Bastianelli, $750 Veterans Scholarship at Umpqua Community College Alex Holland, $750 civil engineering transfer scholarship at Umpqua Community College Abigail Chase, $3,000 civil engineering scholarship at University of Portland Ivan Pulido, $750 Les Lyle Memorial Scholarship at Walla Walla Community College More information about the scholarships and the Scholastic Foundation Top
Spotlight on Scholars
Damon Greenshields Oregon State University Allen A. Alsing Scholarship
My name is Damon Greenshields and I am a senior at Oregon State University studying civil engineering. I was born and raised in eastern Oregon in a town called Enterprise until I moved to Corvallis for college (an outwardly poor trade of 3,500 feet of elevation for 24 inches of annual rainfall).
I have learned so much from my time at Oregon State and am looking forward to the last few terms I have left. After I graduate, I plan on pursuing further work experience and working towards becoming a professional engineer. However, graduate school is also on my radar.
I have had many different jobs (irrigation pipe placement specialist, Go Kart operator/supervisor, co-owner of landscaping/labor business, wildland firefighter). But I hadn’t had any engineering-related work until I was placed at the City of Pendleton through the CECOP internship program. It has been a great experience and I look forward where my journey as an engineer will take me.
When I am not working I enjoy participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and snowboarding. I also take pleasure in diving head first into captivating book sagas, then waiting unreasonable amounts of time for the final book to be published.
The scholarship that APWA has gifted me plays a significant role in helping me pay my way through school. I am so thankful for the generosity of the Oregon APWA and their support of my education.
APWA Calls for Local Decisions in Project Material Selection
APWA has joined multiple water groups urging Congress to oppose materials preference language in any legislation reauthorizing the Drinking Water SRF program.
During a recent mark-up of a discussion draft of the “Drinking Water System Improvement Act” language was included to potentially impose new materials mandates on communities using DWSRF funds to make improvements to their drinking water systems. APWA, along with a coalition of associations and other groups representing water interests, sent a letter to Congressional leadership opposing the language. The letter may be viewed online.
Tell Us What You Think!
Seriously, we're gathering input on the chapter's quarterly e-newsletter. It's one of the primary ways we communicate with members, and we want to be sure you find value in the e-news. Two simple questions:
What do you like the most about the e-newsletter?
What would you like to see done differently?
E-mail your comments to OregonAPWA@gmail.com. Please put "newsletter" in the subject line. We'll report back on the results in ... you guessed it ... the next issue of the e-news. Here's a link to the past issues of the chapter newsletter.
Bull Run Tour Highlights
On August 25 the APWA Water Resources group coordinated with the City of Portland Water Bureau to tour the Bull Run Watershed. Participants viewed and experienced the pristine watershed where Portland and some surrounding municipalities get their drinking water. Highlights of the tour included hiking into an old growth section of forest, having lunch by Bull Run Lake, walking across and into the tunnels of the dam downstream of the largest reservoir, and viewing one of the large tanks at the Columbia South Shore Well Field. Tour guides provided historical and current information about politics and operations of the watershed. Thanks to Jeff Jones of Murraysmith for organizing the tour and Briggy Thomas of the City of Portland for working with the APWA WRC to make this wonderful opportunity happen.
Sustainability Group to Tour Reservoir
On November 2 from 3 to 4:30 p.m., the Sustainability Practices Committee take a field trip to Tualatin Valley Water District’s Ridgewood View Park reservoir facilities, 10001 SW Ardenwood St., Beaverton. The facilities earned an Envision Award. Participants will tour the facilities with Nick Augustus. Watch for more details in coming via chapter e-mail.
Education Gets A+
Spring 2017 was a busy one for APWA education. In March, the Developing Leader class was once again at full capacity. Street Maintenance and Collection Systems Spring School was held the last week of March in beautiful Central Oregon at the Eagle Crest Resort. We were competing with Oregon spring break week, but that meant many attendees brought their families and made their educational week a vacation week as well.
We keep saying, “The chapter conference had record attendance” and it once again did, with nearly 170 delegates! The attendees enjoyed the quaint and lively community of Seaside and the ocean breezes of the Oregon Coast. The exhibitor social provided great networking opportunities and great food! Gizmo…ah, Gizmo…well, we took the competition to new heights in Seaside! Tony Roos and Krey Younger have taken the reins and began shaking things up. They added competition polling and had the nominees begging for your votes and your dollars! After numerous auctions the Gizmo was awarded to Ken Stoneman at the banquet. All in all…a huge success and many kudos to the Chapter board and conference chairs.
Fall is gearing up to be just as busy as APWA rolls into Pendleton for the Oregon Chapter Conference October 17-20, hosted by City of Pendleton. It is no secret that Bob Patterson and his committee plan an event that is sure to have everyone kicking up their heels! Don’t forget to bring your western attire for Thursday Western Wear Day and BBQ.
After a short weekend, APWA heads to Agate Beach in Newport for the Street Maintenance and Collection Systems Fall School October 24-26. Be sure to send your employees to this one-of-a-kind school, offering two collection systems tracks and two street maintenance tracks, one of which is dedicated to the Oregon T2 Road Scholars program.
Registration for Public Works Leadership is already sold out, but don’t worry, there is a waitlist available for those interested in attending. Registration for the Public Works Essentials is in full swing and is over half full! If you want to move into or continue your career with leadership growth the Northwest Public Works Institute classes are a must take!
If you are coming to the fall conference you will want to download the conference app and bring your smart device so that you can fill out the evaluations when they arrive in your inbox. And be sure to check out the conference website. For more information on any of the fall courses visit us online or call 541-994-3201.
Dave Vargas, the last founding member of Oregon APWA, passed away July 21 at the age of 78. Those who knew Dave will testify to his deep commitment to the public works profession and his friendly personal nature. He will be missed.
The chapter will celebrate Dave's life at the fall conference in Pendleton, and we encourage you to bring your stories and memories to share with others.
Kurt Corey, Eugene Public Works Director, died Sept. 15 after a short but courageous battle with cancer.
"I am sad and will miss my friend and colleague tremendously," said City Manager Jon Ruiz. "But Kurt would want us to grieve a little and celebrate a lot. Celebrate a perfect 8-iron approach shot. Celebrate a beer with friends. Celebrate a good joke and a job well done. Most of all celebrate with each other and family, and appreciate each moment."
Kurt was known nationally for his work with APWA. He was recognized by the organization in 2006 as a national top 10 leader of the year. In 2007, he served as the president of the Oregon Chapter, and in 2010 he received the Bowes Award, the chapter's highest honor. He was passionate about excellent service delivery, and in 2004 he championed APWA’s accreditation of Eugene Public Works, one of the first public agencies in the nation to earn this recognition.
Most of all Kurt had a deep sense of caring for others. We have lost a great leader and a great friend. Simply put, Kurt made a difference - to his community, his colleagues, and his friends.
PW Plays Role During Eclipse
While nearly everyone’s focus was on one of the most inspiring natural events to sweep across Oregon in decades, public works professionals remained in the shadows to make sure people stayed safe. Eugene was one of several cities to host a viewing party for the Great American Eclipse.
The Eugene Public Works Department, along with other city departments, organized a viewing party on top of Skinner Butte. The popular park near downtown not only has a stunning view of downtown Eugene, but also an unobstructed view of the sky. Public works crews closed down the road leading up to the park, while a shuttle brought people safely to the top of the butte to watch the eclipse.
On the south end of town, crews were also closely monitoring the crowds at Spencer Butte Park. The park is a popular hiking destination on most days, but it had special appeal for hundreds during the event. Public Works dedicated several crew members to monitor the parking lot, which quickly filled up. They started turning away cars hours before the eclipse reached totality.
In all, more than 1,500 people viewed the eclipse in the two parks. Because of planning and the commitment of the public works staff, everyone had a safe and unobstructed experience that will last a lifetime.