SSL employees remove windstorm debris for residentsSep 22, 2020 03:14PM ● By Bill Hardesty
Antionette Evans and Nicoli Pittman works along 200 East cleaning up windstorm debris. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)
By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]
In recognition that Sept. 11 is a national Day of Service, 20-plus South Salt Lake employees volunteered for a local Day of Service.
The original plan was for the employees to help plant trees in the parks. However, the hurricane strength winds of Sept. 7-8 changed plans. Rather than planting trees, the employees picked up tree debris.
“Some of my best days in office are the days I am not in the office at all but have the opportunity to meet and serve our residents. The windstorm caused a lot of damage in our community and I appreciate working with staff who are willing to put their work clothes on and clean up our city,” said South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood said as she participated in the noontime group.
The project was a joint effort by the Community Connect and the Public Works departments. They were estimating about 25 loads would be picked up throughout the day.
There were three times in the day that employees gathered at the Public Works yard for instructions and their assignment. They teamed up in pairs and were given an area to work. In small dump trucks, they traveled residential streets picking up piles with rakes, coal shovels and brooms.
“I wanted to do my part to help Public Works. These folks have been working 24 hours a day to clean up the damage,” Dustin Permann from City Recreation said.
Nicoli Pittman from Promise SSL voiced the same feelings. “This has been a lot of work for Public Works. The way I see it is more people means the work goes faster and life can get back to normal.”
Pittman worked with Antoinette Evans, Urban Livability director, cleaning up piles of branches and leaves along 200 East and Commonwealth Avenue.
Ray deWolfe, councilmember at-large, joined the noon shift. “I’m fortunate I could dedicate some time to help out the community. It gives me a lot of appreciation to our dedicated staff who go out and serve our community every day. They deserve all the praise. Thanks to the administration for setting up this awesome volunteer event,” deWolfe said.
A resident’s opinion
Lorraine Dipo lives on Oakland Avenue right next to the Public Works yard. She has lived there for 67 years.
She had placed a pile of wind-damaged rubbish on her parking strip. In the windstorm, she lost a peach tree, a totem pole made of flowerpots, a lighthouse and a garden cart. A team picked it up.
“It is great they are picking this stuff up. My trash can is full,” Dipo said.
State of Emergency
As a result of the windstorm, Wood, after consulting with available council members, declared a state of emergency on Sept. 8.
The emergency declaration stated that wind speeds exceeded 100 mph in some places in the city.
The document also stated, “as a result of that severe windstorm many locations in the City experienced serious property damage including downed trees, power lines, damage to homes and vehicles, destroyed sidewalks, road closures, loss of power, and many other items of property damaged or destroyed.”
Fitts Park took some hits as many trees came down on the east side. Parts of the canopy over the play area also came down.
By declaring a state of emergency, the city recognizes that a disaster situation exists within the city.
It also allows the city to request and obtain disaster assistance from the state or the federal government.
The declaration also activates all or parts of the disaster emergency plans and allows the city to “furnish aid and assistance” as it is related to the windstorm.
The next day, Salt Lake County declared a state of emergency because of the extent of the damage, the need for resources, and the cost of recovery.
On the same day, the State of Utah also declared a state of emergency, which expedites the use of state resources and federal resources.