Letter to Utility Operators, Excavators and Locators regarding COVID-19

View PDF of Letter

Utility Operators, Excavators, Locators:

The Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) through its contractor, One Call Concepts,
continues to operate the 811 call center to support essential excavation work throughout the
state. The call center remains open and fully function. The OUNC does not expect its members
or excavators will see any change in level of service from Oregon 811.
In addition, Oregon’s “Dig Law” remains in effect. Excavators and Utility Operators are still
expected to fulfill their obligations under OAR 952.

OAR 952-001-0070 paragraph (2), was incorporated into the rules published in January 1, 2019
so that excavators and locators can work together to make sure marks are on the ground prior
to excavation. While it wasn’t specifically intended for the specific situation that we all face
today, it is a tool that is available. Operators or their contract locators may want to review this
part of the rule if they are having difficulty keeping up with locate ticket demand due to
staffing shortfalls from COVID-19.

Likewise, excavators, can also reach out to the utilities listed on their tickets to make sure they
can stay on schedule. OUNC encourages all its members and utility
operators/locators/excavators to use this relatively new part of the rules to manage work load
and compliance during this unprecedented time.

Communication between utility operators, locators, and excavators has also been an important
part of the “Dig Safely” and “Call Before You Dig” initiatives. It is imperative, now more than
ever, to maintain good communication between all parties to keep those working in the field
safe and to avoid damages to buried infrastructure.

Be safe and take care of yourself, your co-workers, and family and friends.

Sincerely,
Scott Gallegos
OUNC Chair

 

Scott Gallegos – April is Dig Safely Month – Why should people call 811?

Practicing social distancing by staying at home provides a great opportunity to get outdoors and do a little more yard work. This, and the fact that Safe Digging Month is right around the corner, are all the more reason to remind the public about safe digging best practices. Scott Gallegos, NW Natural‘s Damage Prevention Supervisor and Chair of OUNC discuss the need to call 811 before your shovel hits the ground with Lars Larson.

Listen to the Lars Larson interview on SoundCloud: Scott Gallegos – April is Dig Safely Month – Why should people call 811?

Congratulations to Bryan Baxter, who received the 2019 Morrison Award!

Congratulations to Bryan Baxter, who received the 2019 Morrison Award! OUNC awarded Bryan during a heartfelt ceremony attended by Jarrod Morrison’s family and established members of the PGE community who knew and worked with Jarrod during his career.

Bryan Baxter has been a leader in Oregon damage prevention for more than a decade. His creative ideas and respected passion aided in the delivery of the 811 message statewide. Even after moving from the damage prevention department at NW Natural, Bryan continued to work closely with the councils he had supported for so long. His efforts as an ambassador of Oregon 811 continue to influence new industry members and will for some time.

One Call Concepts Users Group Conference

Oregon 811 representatives attended One Call Concepts Users Group Conference

Oregon 811 representatives attended One Call Concepts Users Group Conference. This year held in Portland Oregon at The Nines Hotel.

OUNC was a proud sponsor at this years Dozer Day in Vancouver on May 18-19.

dozer daysOUNC was a proud sponsor at this years Dozer Day in Vancouver on May 18-19. This year we had a coloring contest to teach kids what color codes match to underground utilities.

Over 135 kids participated and proudly hung their drawings on our 811 trailer.

We want to thank our volunteers from NW Natural who helped us at our 811 booth while thousands of attendees stopped by our booth.