County and city employees working around the clock to clear roadways

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. — The City of Medford and Jackson County Roads employees have been working around the clock over the holiday weekend to clear the roadways of snow and ice.

For many city employees, the morning starts at 4 A.M., trying to clear the roads when people are heading to work. They start by loading up the sanding trucks and hitting the roads when severe winter weather hits.

Jason Easley has been working with the city for 19 years. He says when a storm hits like this, it’s all hands on deck.

“Trying to get a group of people, enough to cover all the hours throughout the night and day, it’s tough,” Easley said. 

He says over the weekend, his supervisors reached out to many of the employees, asking if they would take on extra shifts, change their shifts, or work the holiday.  He, among many others answered the call, knowing the importance behind the job.

“Probably the biggest benefit to sanding is during stopping and taking off at intersections,” Easley said. “So we focus most of our time at those intersections.”

The other areas they focus on include bridges, higher elevations, and emergency routes.

“We do hit all around the hospitals.”

In just eight hours Monday morning, one crew put out 28 yards of gravel. Combine that with two other sanding trucks over multiple days and you’ve got a lot of rock dispersed.

In order to care for roads in a city, it takes a lot of teamwork, not to mention an entire county.

Jackson County roads says they’ve had to get creative to make sure its entire fleet can hit the ground running.

“We can put a park ranger behind the wheel [of a standardized pick-up plow] and have them help out in an emergency like this,” J. Domis, Deputy Director of Jackson County Roads and Parks said.

Teamwork doesn’t just happen between employees who get paid to do it though, it also includes the residents who seem to be taking matters into their own hands.

“If I don’t shovel this off of [my driveway], in a couple of days as soon as it freezes it’ll just be ice and then who knows when it’ll thaw out,” Medford resident, Al Dockwiller said. “I‘ve experienced that the hard way, had my car slide down the driveway once.”

Blakely McHugh is co-anchor of NBC5 News at Sunrise and spokesperson for In This Together, a suicide prevention initiative. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Blakely is a native of San Diego, CA. Blakely is excited to be in southern Oregon, a place that gets all the seasons and has similar temperatures to Arizona in the summer! When she’s not at work, you can find her relaxing at home watching TV and cuddling with her cat, Dallas. She also enjoys trying new places to eat and exploring the outdoors. Blakely loves meeting new people so if you see her out and about, say “hi!”
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