What it’s like to work on Portland’s bumpy roads

Multnomah County

A city utility worker shares her day on the job

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Meet Jacyln Rickard, a hard-working Portland Bureau of Transportation employee who spends her days maintaining Portland’s streets.

Rickard starts her day at 7 a.m. when she receives her daily assignment. Ahead of the winter months, that’s usually fixing potholes.

“It may sound like a dirty job, but working with asphalt is a lot of fun,” she said. “I enjoy getting my hands dirty.”

Other typical days for Rickard can be spent installing traffic signs, building sidewalks and striping roads, among other things.

Rickard has been working for the city for four years. She was working in a “dead-end” warehouse job when her friend recommended she look into training at Oregon Tradeswoman Inc.

“I was just feeling stuck,” she said.

She started classes through OTI and eventually landed a seasonal gig working as a Utility Worker I. She is now a Utility Worker II and hopes to move up to a crew leader one day.

“My favorite part of the job is being able to touch every area of the city. I’ve worked all the way in the deep Southwest hills to Northeast, Southeast Portland,” Rickard said.

She loves when neighbors come out to say hi and children greet them as they are working on their street.

There are challenges with working outdoors, too. Crews are outdoors year-round, whether in sweltering heat or the dead of winter. Drivers and bicyclists can be careless as well.

“I’ve had a couple of close calls – I’ve actually been clipped by mirrors by people going too fast. It’s a constant daily struggle,” she said.

If this career sounds like fun to you, join PBOT on Saturday, December 14 for their Trades Career Fair where you can learn about employment opportunities.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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