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There is a nervous anticipation among parks maintenance staff to see if the prep work done during fall, winter was good enough

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Duane GarnerOut in the parks, March 1 is the date on the calendar where all the staff know it's go-time. It's sort of like a Nascar race where all the cars are lined up at the starting line, the engines have all been serviced, the tires are fresh, the paint is perfect, and the engines are revved and hot as the drivers wait for the flag to drop. There is a nervous anticipation among the parks maintenance staff to see whether or not the prep work done during the fall and winter was good enough to keep up the speed through the spring without getting buried. It's a race between nature and machinery, man and weeds. The amount of cleanup that happened during the fall is either motivating or worrisome about right now.

The questions start racing in our heads: Do we have a handle on the dandelion and broadleaf populations in the lawns, or are we up against an infestation? - Scrub the toilet - Can we get on top of the puncture vine before it shows its ugly face? If not, I know what we are in for! There will not be a bicycle tire in Prineville that holds air, and think about the poor puppy's feet! - Scrub the toilet - We need to hurry up and finish the winter projects and get those behind us; we don't have time for this! -Scrub the toilet - Is all the equipment serviced and ready to go? – Scrub the toilet - Do we have the supplies we need? - Scrub the toilet - When is it going to stop freezing at night so we can start testing out all the sprinkler systems? - Scrub the toilet - Oh no, look at all the new gopher holes! - Scrub the toilet - How many hundreds of yards of playground chips do I need to order this spring? Scrub the toilet - O wow, those trees need to be trimmed! - Scrub the toilet - All hands on deck! The campgrounds are opening, and they are a mess! When are we going to get some help around here?!

Oh yes, hello pool. Dear sweet 1950s pool. Do you have another year in you, Great-granny? I have bought you more duct tape to hold your insides together and cleaned your face so you look pretty. I even bought new fixtures for your restrooms and painted your walls and floors. I brightened you up with new lights. Can you give us another summer? We will treat you gently and speak kind words to you. Just hang on a little longer. …

What?! I just painted this restroom, put up new fixtures, replaced the signage and got it looking perfect. Why are people so bent on destroying it? Every day it's not just dirty — the toilet is plugged with sticks, gravel, clothes and human waste. The soap dispenser is kicked off the wall again, the partition door is off its (now broken) hinges, the flush valve is kicked off, and there is water running out the door. There is nastiness all over everywhere again. …

Look at all the garbage! Where did it all come from?! Did a tornado go over the landfill, pick up everything, and then dump it in the park? Another junk camp trailer left in the parking lot again? Really? Why is this mattress in the creek? Now it's soaked and weighs 1,000 pounds! Now I have to go get the backhoe to get this thing out!

Who dumped their deer carcass on the side of the bank of the Crooked River again? It reeks!

Ring, ring. Hey, why are the restrooms locked up? I am a taxpayer, and I deserve to use the public restrooms in my park! Do your job and keep up with the restrooms! What? You keep them locked up because you are too lazy to clean them? Get it together and keep 'em open!

Ring, ring. Hey, we are trying to play baseball out here at the field, and I'm pretty sure I just saw a trout jump over third base, there is so much standing water over there. Can you please get that fixed before our game that starts in an hour?

Boss man: "OK, everyone, this is going to be a great season, and we are here to serve our community with pride! Just remember, not everyone gets the pleasure of working in the park! Most people go to your workplace to enjoy themselves, and you have the luxury of working in this beautiful environment. We are all so lucky!"

Next time you see the person who does the real work, please simply give them a thumbs-up and a smile. It helps more than you know.


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