By Stefanie Donahue
A crowd mixed with folks of all ages and interests – perhaps even a few aspiring maintenance workers – stopped by Blaine’s first equipment “Roadeo” last Friday.
Blaine’s public works department hosted the event to give the public a glimpse at what city maintenance workers do each day. From 1 to 3:30 p.m., a line of heavy-duty machines and vehicles sat tall behind the Blaine library for all to see.
“A lot of what we do in public works is behind the scenes,” said public works director Ravyn Whitewolf. “A lot of what we do is really cool.”
The quality of life in Blaine is impacted directly by the actions of public works staff, she said. The department is tasked with managing all city utilities, including water, wastewater, storm water and electrical services as well as repair and maintenance of streets and public facilities.
The event was modeled after similar events sponsored by public works departments throughout the country. Often, public works roadeos feature competitions between operators. However, Blaine’s event focused on engaging the public through demonstrations and interactive displays.
On Friday, spectators watched in awe as a backhoe, designed to dig and maneuver heavy objects, carefully transported a wine glass between two nearby tables. A display featuring a robotic camera used to snake through storm and sewer drains was setup for use. Sitting nearby was a vactor truck, equipped with a large black tube used for sanitary maintenance.
“It’s just a vacuum like your mom and dad have at home,” said public works employee Jim Bird.
Nearly all members of the public works department were at the event to help, Whitewolf said. Local police, members of the fire department and representatives from Puget Sound Energy were also involved.
“Every person that is operating equipment is a city employee,” Whitewolf said.
To learn more about public works, visit cityofblaine.com/90/Public-Works.