Jeff Humphrey

Stuck Behind the Blade

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 2:30 p.m.

We first met Sean Denison back in October when he was getting ready for winter by hanging plow blades on the City’s fleet of heavy equipment.

Fast forward to February. The cab of Denison’s truck has become his second home as Denison starts his sixth straight day of clearing roads.

“Everything stops. All you’re doing is just work, eat, and sleep. Five-thirty to five- thirty is what our shift is right now,” Denison said how of how the emergency plow schedule even affects his family.

20 inches of snow have fallen since Spokane started its all-city plow. Even though it’s the second time crews have cleared the Route 3 neighborhood, a lot of drivers are stuck in their driveways.

“Like I was telling the mayor, I’ve seen people pay it forward. You know I’ve helped somebody like an elderly person or what not. I help them and so other people, like neighbors, will help them, and they’ll move on down the road and just keep on going helping each other out, explained Denison.

Spokane’s mayor insists we can help out plow operators, during big storms, simply by thinking in advance, about where and how we park our cars.

“You know, when you’re in these trucks, trying to see vehicles or making sure we hit each driveway, it’s a lot tougher than it looks. These are large pieces of equipment and that’s why it’s key that our citizens make sure they get close to the curb, this year, on the odd side of the street, helps our snow plows get through much more efficiently,” Condon said.

However, smart parking is still not a guarantee your driveway won’t get plowed shut.

Even though this winter, the city has more than doubled the number of gates that reduce berms, some of us are still shoveling the snowy tsunamis.

“Yeah, we’ve been using our budget in a way that allows us to bring on those gates on, a few a year. We’re up considerably this year, but we’re not always going to get the gates to every single driveway,” conceded Condon.

Moreover, because what goes around, comes around, even plow operators sometimes get buried by the blade.

At the end of each 12-hour shift, Denison still has to clear away his own snow.

“Just like everybody else, we have to go home and plow or shovel. Just like everybody else has to. We’re no exception to the rule,” Denison lamented.

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