Employee Spotlight: Wade Seaborn
Any Hood River public works construction project typically has Wade Seaborn overseeing it. As Senior Project Manager for the busy department, Seaborn is in charge of managing City water, sewer, street, storm, and sidewalk projects.
Since Seaborn joined the City in March of 2016, City Finance Director Will Norris has noticed an uptick in the pace of project completions, which does not surprise Seaborn. “With my focus solely on project management, things are getting done at a faster pace,” he says. Prior to joining the City public works department, Seaborn owned and operated Seaborn Engineering in Hood River and served as subcontractor on the City’s water transmission main project for the large engineering firm BergerABAM. This experience lends Seaborn familiarity with how both engineering and public works operate.
The typical construction window for public works projects is March through September, with the City’s final project of the year, the Cottonwood storm sewer, concluding on October 1st. That project on the west side of 13th and State streets behind the Cottonwood apartments, entailed upgrading an 18” pipe to a 30” pipe with a big inlet. A few weeks prior a long extension to the City’s storm-water system was installed at Belmont and 22nd, extending west 1,000 feet near an area of new development.
The year’s lengthiest project was the immense waterline installation on Sherman that included a pressure-reducing valve and new pipe between Eugene and Montello on 7th. That project extended from Sherman east of the Hood River News building and from State to 4th and Eugene streets. A second pressure-reducing valve was also added at Hazel and Eugene around the same time. A system of water pressure-reducing valves is necessary due to the City’s natural steep terrain. Without them, the pressure generated from the flow of water from the City’s water source on the side of Mt. Hood would break plumbing fixtures and damage household appliances.
Paving delays at the end of that long project frustrated Seaborn. “Streets were ground down and the asphalt contractor was scheduled, but no asphalt mix was available anywhere for on-time completion of the project,” Seaborn explained. “The project finale was delayed about two weeks, and we never like to see streets unpaved for that long.”
With wetter, colder months approaching, Seaborn turns his focus toward reviewing projects for next construction season. These consist of advertising for bids, awarding contacts and more planning once contracts are signed. Seaborn collaborates with the City Engineer on plans and bids, with Crestline and Beam construction companies completing the majority of projects recently.
“I enjoy it,” Seaborn claims. “I think it’s a ‘big picture’ position. I’m not working in minute details anymore. It’s more of an overview, making sure all the pieces of the City’s system fit and work together.”
Since he began, Seaborn’s projects have primarily focused on pipes for water, sewer and storm-water infrastructure. In 2019 that focus will shift to heavier emphasis on roads. Roadway and ADA improvements are planned around May St. School in conjunction with new facility construction, upgrading the digester building and a new Ultra Violet (UV) light disinfection system project at the Waste Water Treatment Plan, and a rebuilt elevated sidewalk at May and 13th. Depending on coordination with ODOT, intersection upgrades could occur at West Cascade and Rand as well as 2nd and Oak streets. Those intersection projects have been in the works for some time. Seaborn’s involvement, once approvals are granted, means projects will proceed with more efficiency and swiftness.
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