PHOTO: Port of Walla Walla Maintenance Department crew - Terry Dickerson, Brian Hurst, Louis Gagnon & Darren Brinson. Photo by Donna Lasater
| Maintaining the systems required to keep the Port of Walla
Walla and Walla Walla Regional Airport operating is no small
challenge. In many instances it’s like solving the kinds of
problems faced by small towns.
To get a “feel” for the work involved, spend some time with
the four-man Port Maintenance Department.
Terry Dickerson, Brian Hurst, Louis Gagnon and Darren
Brinson care for “practically everything” the Port owns,
including runways, roadways, sewer systems and water systems.
In addition, the crew watches over as many as 170 buildings
that are part of the Walla Walla Regional Airport and off-site
facilities elsewhere in Walla Walla, Burbank and Wallula.
While the four are mostly involved in what they describe as
“regular, routine maintenance,” there are plenty of unusual jobs
that keep them on their toes.
Some examples are: Keeping the airport drainage ditch
flowing during rainstorms. Rescuing a crippled
| aircraft that closed a runway when a wheel support failed upon landing.
Keeping flights on schedule with ongoing snow plow operations
needed during winter storms.
“It’s not always the everyday kind of stuff,” they’ll say, “and it’s
Describing themselves as “jack-of-all-trades” craftsmen, the
four say their work requires the skills to accomplish a lot of
varied tasks. “Sometimes you have to learn quickly, that day, as
you’re doing it,” explains Brinson.
While each member of the group has unique abilities, they
share prior experiences in construction, custom home building,
machine repair and utilities maintenance. It’s that blending of
work backgrounds that come together in what the men describe
as a “full-time team effort.
It’s a good place to work,” they say. “You know you’ll never be
Airport’s North ramp gets upgrade Following last year’s upgrade of the WW Regional Airport’s South
ramp, the Port of Walla Walla – with assistance from the Federal
Aviation Administration – initiated nearly $2 million in improvements
on the North ramp during 2009.
The restoration project involved more than six acres of WW II
vintage concrete and included diamond grinding off the top layer of
the concrete ramp, repairing and replacing damaged concrete panels,
repairing concrete joints, improving storm water drainage, applying a
protective seal coat to the refurbished ramp and striping.
The Federal Aviation Administration provided 95 percent of the
funding as part of its annual participation in airport improvements.
PHOTO: Construction crew pours new North Ramp concrete. Port file photo.