COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: High Risk

Dispatches From the Front Lines: Dave Demchak

Blog Post
Dave Demchak, Project Manager for the Argon Supply Tank delivery, shares how his team has adapted to Covid.

"The previous Argon supply tanks were a safety hazard in the Water Quality Lab; the old tanks were cumbersome to cart around and would off-gas sporadically and loudly, startling staff working in the lab performing sensitive laboratory operations. This project had been in the works for a while, but with the COVID crisis quickly unfolding, we were uncertain on whether we could pull the project off. However, in the ninth inning, the project ended up being a success because of a great team effort.

"This pandemic reinforces the need for our water system to be up and running 24/7"

We were working with a skeleton crew who efficiently completed the work and coordinated the required mechanical, fire, building, and special inspections with various stakeholders and agencies. The whole project took about a week, and throughout the process – staff and contractors did their best to maintain appropriate social distancing measures.

At Interstate (PWB's maintenance headquarters) in general, we’ve been separating work groups, staggering work schedules, utilizing forms of virtual communication, and being extra conservative with social distancing measures. We’re also paying careful consideration to the daily COVID updates as this unprecedented situation is continuously developing. Water is an essential component of life – everyday. This pandemic reinforces the need and critical importance for our water system to be up and running 24/7 for the hundreds of thousands of people in our region.

From the folks that are working and sheltering in place at home to the medical personnel in hospitals and firefighters that rely every minute upon the water system – I feel honored to be an essential worker for PWB and am proud to be a small part of the amazing team we have. It feels good to help do my part to support our mission."