When the buzz began about a series of storms that were to strike our area beginning Jan. 19, the risky mix of rain-soaked soil, high winds and drought-stricken trees put everyone on alert that the weather could wreak havoc.
Poway’s Public Works crews are the city’s frontline of defense in keeping the community safe during storms. As it became clear that this was going to be big, routine work came to a stop as crews staged equipment, readied vehicles and heavy equipment and replenished sandbag supply stations.
Over a five-day period, Public Works tracked 112 reports of downed trees, flooding and other response requests in the community and worked an estimated 1,500 hours on storm-related activities. The department distributed 10,000 sandbags and moved about 180 tons of sand.
Crews cleared 20 downed trees, at one point going from one to the next in rapid succession.
“Our focus was to get the trees pushed out of the way and create a safe passage on our roads,” said Public Works Director Troy Bankston.
While Public Works employees anticipate serving the city as disaster workers when the need arises, Bankston noted that every single hand went up when asked to help.
“There wasn’t a single employee who said ‘I can’t do it.’ Everyone was ready to do their part to keep Poway safe.”
The community shared their appreciation, posting messages of thanks and encouragement on the city’s social media.
“Impressive work by @cityofpoway employees. Lots of trees falling down but they are all over it,” was one of the many positive tweets.
When a Facebook post gave notice that crews were preparing to close the Poway grade to clear a massive boulder and clean up the road, a resident responded:
“Public Works workers are our City’s heroes with no capes.”