BEND, OR -- We haven't seen snowfall yet, but temperatures are certainly dropping, and that means winter is on the way. Chuck Swann, the Streets and Operations Manager for the City of Bend Public Works Department says, he's heard conflicting reports about the coming winter's severity, so he's trying to be ready for whatever comes. "We are, pretty much, geared up for it now, we've done our shift change, we usually do in our winter operations around daylight savings, where we split our crews a little bit to cover morning and evening commutes for when we do start getting inclement weather like snow or ice."
Swann says the Department's preparations include not just making sure trucks and equipment are serviced, but that supplies are stocked, and employees have up-to-date training. When the forecast does call for snow, Swann says the public can help by keeping cars, trailers, and other items off the streets so sweepers have room to navigate. "If we do get snow, to help themselves, people can, ahead of their driveway, clean about 20 feet, so it keeps from building a larger dam in their driveways of ice. Keeping the streets clear is a huge help for the Streets and Operations Department."
Getting ahead of ice is one of the main jobs of the Department, Swann says, where the trucks go out and spread preventative chemicals, and keeping the streets clear gives the trucks a better chance of covering the entire road with ice melt. "That's when we end up having to put the sanding rock down, and if we have a continuous build up of ice, we don't have a chance to come back and clean that up. It's not good for our clean water program and it's not good for our sweeping program."
While Central Oregon waits for snow, Swann says the Department will keep busy with core maintenance projects like tree trimming, and median and landscape maintenance.