Thurston County News


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Meghan Porter

Bryan Dominique

Friday, May 14, 2021
Stronger Together: Thurston County Celebrates 2021 National Public Works Week
By April Leigh, Public Works Education & Outreach Supervisor

Thurston County is joining local governments across the nation May 16-22, in celebration of National Public Works Week. The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) will announce National Public Works Week with an official proclamation during the Tuesday, May 18, BoCC meeting.

"Every day our lives in Thurston County are impacted by the work of Public Works. Staff care for our roads, ensure our bridges are safe, plow the snow, remove fish barriers and create healthy natural areas, plan for our future roads, run the Waste and Recovery Center, and take care of our parks and trails, among many other things. I am grateful for our employees who work to serve our community, and help keep us safe and moving forward," said Thurston County Commission Chair, Tye Menser.

In addition to the proclamation, public works staff will be recognized with employee appreciation tributes online and at county facilities throughout the week. Staff will also participate in an official Wear Orange to Work day on Tuesday, May 18, 2021.

County Manager Ramiro Chavez said, "Orange is a symbol of public works employee's selfless commitment and mission to maintain and build our infrastructure that is essential for our economic vitality. Kudos and thank you to all Public Works staff for providing vital services to our community and for wearing orange proudly!"   

The theme for 2021 National Public Works Week is Stronger Together. Public Works employees help maintain a community's strength by working together to provide an infrastructure of services in transportation, water, wastewater, and stormwater treatment, public buildings and spaces, parks, and grounds, solid waste, and right-of-way management. Public Works employees also provide the togetherness needed for collaboration with stakeholders in capital projects, infrastructure solutions, and quality of life services.

As essential services employees, Public Works professionals have and continue to provide these services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The dedication our employees have shown to their coworkers and community this year has been exemplary. They represent the very best of Thurston County," said Jennifer Walker, Thurston County Public Works Director and APWA Washington State Chapter Board Member.

In unincorporated Thurston County, Public Works maintains 1,038 miles of road, 138 bridges, 106 miles of sidewalks, more than 17,000 traffic devices, and 1,170 miles of public stormwater conveyance systems. The department is also responsible for the operation of the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center (WARC), two refuse drop-box locations, four wastewater systems, and three water systems. In addition, public works staff manage 2,645 acres of parks land, 57 miles of river, and 56 miles of trails.

For details on programs and recent projects managed by Thurston County Public Works, view the department's annual report online

This is the 61st Annual Public Works Week. The American Public Works Association (APWA) developed this celebration to recognize the contributions of public works professionals.  

Public works projects, like the underpass nearTalcott Ridge on the Chehalis Western Trail, improve infrastructure and quality of life for Thurston County residents. This is what the trail looked like before the project.

This is what the underpass near Talcott Ridge on the Chehalis Western Trail looked like after the project. 

About APWA
The American Public Works Association ( is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA supports those who operate, improve and maintain public works and infrastructure through advocacy, education, and member engagement. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., has an office in Washington, DC, and 63 chapters in North America. 


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3