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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Physical distancing while working at Dodge Park

Portland Water Bureau personnel continue to do essential work during our COVID-19 response. Schedules have shifted. Some work assignments have changed. Our commitment to serving excellent water every minute of every day continues.

Here are the words of Fish Biology Burke Strobel describing how his team adapted to physical distancing restrictions while delivering on this vital work:


We scrambled that first weekend, when we were told we needed to work from home. We needed to get a second vehicle because we normally go out in groups of two. We have had to rearrange how we do different tasks in the field.  

Before we would switch tasks between people. You’d have one person going to check fish traps and the other person running the processing station for weighing the fish. Then the person who took the fish from the traps would weigh the fish, and the other person would take in the data.  

Now we don’t switch up. One person does one task the entire day so they’re the only one who comes in contact with their equipment. We’ve reduced the amount of sampling to the bare minimum for what we have to do to eliminate as much contact as possible.  

We do our work at Dodge Park. Things are definitely quieter there than they used to be. When you’re in the park it does feel quieter than it did before. But if you get into the woods then there’s not much of a difference. The difference for us is we’re taking pains to make sure we’re further apart from one another.  

There’s an appreciation that it’s important work. I think everybody on the crew feels lucky that they do get to keep going out. That their job is one of the jobs that’s still allowed to be done because its both important and it’s something that can be done with minimal risk.