Local Information

Displays in Wenatchee, Ephrata & Okanogan honor four employees who died on the job

Friday, April 5, 2019 - 14:42

Contact: Jeff Adamson, communications 509-667-2815 (Wenatchee)

WENATCHEE – Travelers in Wenatchee, Ephrata and Okanogan will see new displays starting Monday, April 8 to raise awareness of National Work Zone Awareness Week April 8-12. These outdoor displays include an orange Work Zone Safety banner and four barrels to honor the four employees from our region who died on the job.

See the displays near the North Central Region Office on Euclid Ave. in Wenatchee, Area 2 Maintenance Office on State Route 28 in Ephrata and Area 3 Maintenance Office on US 97 in Okanogan.

Employees in work zones are husbands, fathers, brothers, wives, mothers, sisters, children and friends – and they all deserve to go home safe at the end of their day. Far too many of them have had close calls, serious injuries and deaths in work zones. Crewmembers have had to literally run for their lives or jump over guardrails due to speeding, inattentive, distracted or impaired drivers.

The four barrels honor those from this area who have died on the job:

  • Frank E. Potter, Dec. 1, 1950, North Central Region, Maintenance Laborer. Frank was killed on US 2 when a car skidded into him while trying to slow down in a work zone east of Leavenworth.
  • Ray Wittig, Feb. 4, 1952, North Central Region, maintenance lead technician. Ray was killed on US 2 when he was buried in a snow slide while working in Tumwater Canyon, west of Leavenworth.
  • Ray T. Collie, Feb. 28, 1970, North Central Region, maintenance technician. Ray died a week after being struck by a truck on US 2 just west of Stevens Pass in a work zone as he was setting cones.
  • Gordon Burlingame, July 17, 1992, North Central Region, Avalanche Control Supervisor. “Gordie” was working alone dismantling a 22-foot high radio tower from the roof of a dormitory building at Berne Camp on Stevens Pass when it became unstable and fell on him.

Capitol Campus displays

In Olympia, also starting April 8, 60 orange traffic barrels and a pickup truck crushed in a recent work zone incident will be on display all week on the Capital Campus. Each barrel represents one of the 60 WSDOT workers killed on the job around the state since 1950.

Help keep those in and traveling through a work zone safe by remembering to:

  • Slow Down -- drive the posted speeds, they’re there for your safety.
  • Be Kind – our workers are helping to keep you safe and improve the roadways.
  • Pay Attention -- both to workers directing you and surrounding traffic.
  • Stay Calm -- expect delays, leave early or take an alternate route if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life.

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