National Public Works Week in Oregon

NPWW in Tualatin
National Public Works Week activities begin in the City of Tualatin, Oregon with a month-long display in our library lobby which is advertised in our city newsletter along with all of our NPWW activities. The display invites the public to learn more about public works in our community. Brochures, handouts and giveaways are available to the public.

Our biggest component, and one the city is quite proud of, is the opportunity to team up with the leadership class at Hazelbrook Middle School to co-sponsor a Public Works Fair. This fair includes seven hands-on stations, each focusing on a public works topic. Leadership students are asked to choose one of the selected seven topics and then invited on a field trip to the city’s Operations Center where they learn about their subject firsthand. Following training from city crews, leadership students run the stations while all Hazelbrook’s sixth-grade students rotate through, learning about the city’s role in building and maintaining their community’s infrastructure. This year’s station topics include: changing a stock car into a police car; backflow devices—what they are and why we need them; backhoe competition; maintaining our parks; the use of native plants in parks and greenways to support water conservation goals; how the city uses aerial photography and GIS; and a demonstration of sewer line cleaning.

One of the most popular public works topics is the backhoe competition. With safety a top priority, leadership students learn how to run a backhoe by putting a scoop of tennis balls into a large bucket. At the fair, these same students will instruct selected sixth-graders to do the same. The sixth-grader getting the most balls in the bucket wins a prize.

The benefits of this program go beyond the school fair. Students who learn firsthand from city workers have a greater appreciation for all they do. After participating, the students are more apt to notice well-maintained roads, stop their friends from littering or vandalizing, and better appreciate what goes on behind the scenes to ensure that safe drinking water continues to come out of their tap. This program has endured for ten years because it benefits not only the people who are directly involved, but also the livability of our community as a whole.

Our mayor and council show their appreciation for our public works employees by recognizing and proclaiming National Public Works Week at a council meeting which is later aired on cable television. They also sponsor a Public Works Picnic for our employees. The middle school leadership students are also invited, and receive recognition for a job well done and get a chance to meet other city personnel who are involved in public works projects. “This is a great opportunity to educate the citizens about public works and its role in our community, educate our youth about the importance of public works, and recognize our employees for their commitment to our city,” says Dan Boss, Operations Director.

We also have a Bulky Waste Day where residents may bring their bulky waste items for disposal, a household hazardous products drop-off event, and a yard debris drop-off day. Our Volunteer Coordinator plans Adopt-A-Park Programs and other volunteer opportunities to get the entire community involved.

Contributed by Lisa Thorpe, Program Coordinator, City of Tualatin, Oregon.

Gresham celebrates our “Everyday Heroes”
On May 22, 2002, the City of Gresham, Oregon and Multnomah County Transportation Division celebrated the National Public Works Week theme, “Everyday Heroes: Committed to our Communities.” In keeping with the theme, a presentation of hero medals and certificates was made to 30 city and county employees who were nominated by their co-workers for acts above and beyond the call of duty. The nominees ranged from lifesaving events to others who give 110 percent on an everyday basis. Gresham City Councilor Chris Lassen and Multnomah County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts presented the awards with introductions by Rob Fussell, Gresham’s City Manager and Dave Rouse, Department of Environmental Services Director.

In addition, several hundred local school children enjoyed the city’s annual equipment exhibition and demonstrations, held at the Operations Center. Following a one-hour guided tour, each child attending the event was presented a Department of Environmental Services bag filled with a kid-sized yellow hardhat, a “Celebrate Public Works” pencil, a hero badge, and an APWA comic book donated by Operations Management International, Inc., which also provided bus transportation for one of the school groups. Displays increasing public awareness of public works contributions to our communities were placed in the Gresham Post Office, Multnomah County Library, and the Gresham City Hall lobby.

Preliminary planning of the National Public Works Week celebration for 2003 has begun. The event will be hosted by Multnomah County Transportation Division at Blue Lake Regional Park on May 21.

Contributed by Brenda Drake, Environmental Services Information Specialist, City of Gresham, Oregon.

NPWW in Eugene
The Eugene Public Works Department will hold its 12th annual all-day community open house on Thursday, May 15, at the Public Works yard. “We Deliver: Value, Efficiency, Service” is the theme of this year’s event. The department’s administration, airport, engineering, maintenance, parks and open space, transportation, and wastewater divisions will offer demonstrations and activities and have dozens of pieces of large equipment on display. A highlight of the open house includes an area showing a recently completed major public works project from design to construction to post-construction maintenance.

As in the past, more than 1,000 schoolchildren are expected to attend. A special area has been set up for kids activities, including a favorite called “Tiny Town” in which a hip-hop traffic cop explains road signs and teaches safe ways to cross the street. Older students have been invited to meet the staff and learn about careers in public works. Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey will proclaim National Public Works Week, and department staff will be treated to a lunch. More information is available on the web at

Contributed by Eric Jones, Public Affairs Manager, Eugene Public Works.

Time is growing short…
Many municipalities throughout the U.S. and Canada will celebrate National Public Works Week in ways similar to the foregoing examples in Oregon. How are you planning to celebrate NPWW in 2003? We’d love to hear from you—just go to the NPWW website at and click on “Tell us about your NPWW outreach.”

In the meantime, in case you haven’t made any plans, keep in mind that time is growing short. A “How To” guide for planning your NPWW activities is available on-line at Or if you’d rather us mail you one, just call (800) 848-APWA or send e-mail to Jon Dilley, Manager of Marketing and Graphic Design, at