OUT IN THE COLD
Jim Kelly of La Grande has climbed poles when it was 10 below zero, so this weeks weather didnt seem like a big deal to him.
You cant beat today, he said near the end of his work day Monday on Cove Avenue as the thermometer hovered at 20 degrees. It had been 6 degrees at the beginning of the day, with the snows of the last few days lingering.
The warmly dressed lineman for Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative, who said his coldest day was minus 10 on a job at Beaver Mountain out of Baker City, said the good thing about Monday was the fact there was no wind.
I move around a lot and keep working to stay warm, he said.
Fellow OTEC worker Kathryn Woodruff agreed with Kellys outlook.
After climbing down from the pole where the two had been working, she said, With the sun out, it hasnt been bad all day.
Woodruff, a new La Grande resident, said she was outside eight hours a day except when were loading materials onto the truck.
Another OTEC worker, Mike Hinton, who wore a green sweat jacket with a hood that fit under his hard hat, said, I work outside sleet or snow, rain or shine. It isnt bad except when there is a combination of wind and cold. Thats the worst.
Warm clothing is the key in this weather, said Brian Lemke of Island City, who was working on the outside of a Mike Becker building going up on Island Avenue.
Being a carpenter, he wasnt wearing gloves, but there was no shortage of other clothing.
In this weather, I wear layers of clothing to keep warm and I work hard. Im outside eight hours a day. I love the cold. Its better than working in hot weather. You can get away from the cold, but you cant get away from the heat, Lemke said.
Les Gore of Union, another carpenter for Mike Becker, said he
didnt mind working in the cold.
I like it except when it gets below zero, Gore said.
Troy Stever of Island City hasnt had much experience working in the cold. Monday was his fourth day on the job at Bi-Rite Exxon in La Grande.
The cold is OK during the daytime, but its really cold at night. I need to start wearing more clothing.'
Stever, who worked at Burger King before taking his present job, said his worst chore is when he has to wash down the car-wash area.
When you come out of there, youre soaked.