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Maintenance Department crew keeps Port operations running smoothly
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 always interesting.”
     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 bored.”

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.
Port completes airport winery incubator complex, all five units leased by startups
PHOTO: Construction crew pours new North Ramp concrete. Port file photo.
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