City Worker: Council’s Proposed Maintenance Cuts Will Hurt
From street cleaning, to paving and traffic signals, the employees of the City of Roses respond, repair, and maintain the infrastructure that keeps the city moving
Jerry “JJ” Johnson, Laborers’ Local 483
March 16, 2012As a sewer utility worker with the City of Portland’s maintenance bureau for 22 years, I wake at the crack of dawn to start my day. Because I’m dealing with the pain of a spinal cord injury from a traumatic fall in July 2011, I need extra time to shower, stretch, and loosen up for the day ahead.
As I grab my keys to head out the door, I say goodbye to my wife Angel, and hug my children Yazmen and J’lynn tight, wishing them a good day at school. In the car I notice that because of the night’s heavy rain all the street drains are clogged. But as I head up the street, my eyes locate our city vactor truck (a massive sewer cleaning system on wheels) and I wave to the crews heading toward the clogged drains. I’m sure they were called in before shift to handle the flooding catch basins.
As I turn onto Willamette Boulevard, I notice a two man paving crew pouring hot asphalt mix in several of the holes I hit last night on the way home. This crew is responding to a call, helping drivers avoid accidents before the morning rush hour.
As I approach NE Vancouver, heading north toward the maintenance bureau, I watch leaves fall to the ground with the rain. Then I see the convoy of flashing lights and heavy machinery sweeping and collecting slippery leaves that were causing problems for the bicyclists and pedestrians. As I pull into work, I watch our traffic electrical crew hanging tethers for signals that were damaged in a car accident in the early morning hours.
This morning I am filled with pride as I see the workers of the City of Portland doing their best to maintain the infrastructure of the city. We get up in the early morning to respond to emergency calls no matter where or why. I really appreciate our dedication to maintaining the livability and quality of life in the City of Portland. From street cleaning, to paving and traffic signals, the employees of the City of Roses respond, repair, and maintain the infrastructure that keeps the city moving.
Unfortunately, the work we do is threatened. City Council is planning to cut our budget and lay-off many of the workers who maintain the streets and parks of Portland. But we will not stand by and let City Hall throw in the towel on our services. We are on your side, fighting to protect Portland’s future.
Because of my injury, I am dealing with serious pain and mobility issues, but I refuse to give up on myself, just as I refuse to give up on Portland. As a husband and father I have to fight for a full recovery, and I have to fight for my job and the services my coworkers provide to the community. Please join me. Join my coworkers. We are your neighbors. Let City Council know we need solutions, not cuts.