Stay in Portland

Stay in Portland

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Well for a couple of days I was doing residential construction clean up and general labor. One full day of shovelling gravel and moving in a wheelbarrow from the front of a house to a new patio out back. I was sore after that, but felt OK the next day, and then only a half day of shovelling dirt to fill in around drain pipes. It looks like for the next couple of weeks I will be here at Pacific Foods helping MegaPacific (a general contractor) build them a new warehouse/office area just like there other but bigger. Pacific Foods, Tualatin, OR.
When I arrived they had already poured the main slab for the floor. I would guess it is about the size of two football fields, side by side. As such, it is hard to get a good picture of it. Now we are building the forms for the walls. You can see the slabs and a mostly empty form ( needs lots of rebars, doors, etc.. New warehouse slab floor.
One of my first tasks was to take down the forms for the poured foundation for the walls and move the material to a new section that hasn't been poured yet (so they can set up new forms). Here you can see the slab foundation along the left with rebars sticking out so that it can be extended to the walls. Along the middle is the wall foundation with the completed section toward the top of the picture as well as empty forms (toward the bottom) which needs to be poured when they have more cement delivered. The forms are just a wood frame with plastic cloth to hold the cement and the steel rebars hanging from the wood. Foundation for walls.
Here is the library and city hall at Tualatin, OR. I have switched over to a weekly ticket so that I don't need to go into the Instant Labor office in Beaverton, OR every morning. There is a closed Safeway store next to that building and I expect I will often stay the night parked there. That way when I get up in the morning and it is cold, then I can drive a couple of miles to the work site and warm my car up. Friday morning the low for Portland, OR was supposed to be 44 degrees, but when I got to the work site outside Tualatin there was frost on the ground (had to be right at 32 degrees as there was also fog). Brrr. Makes it hard to get up in the morning. Tualatin City Library and City Hall.
On Friday morning we poured about 12 panels. We started at about 7:30AM, but it was still dark as Daylight Savings time was still in effect. There were about a dozen of us working on the pour and it took us about three hours. I was helping the guy with an electric vibrator to shake the concrete and get the bubbles out. It was amazing the way the concrete would run when the vibrator was close. He had to walk around and run the vibrator through each newly poured section. My job was to keep his cord from getting tangled up. I couldn't get any pictures of the actual pour as I was busy then. Only when we had finished a panel and the crew with shovels were leveling it out (to see if more cement was needed) could I take pictures. However, I got some nice pictures of a similar residential pour in Seattle. Wall Panel Pour.
The guys who leveled the cement were contractors from Matson Construction while the pump truck was from Best West Commercial Pumping. The guy from the pump truck moved the boom using a radio controller in front of him hanging from a belt. He would pretty much just move the boom to where the guy directing the hose pointed it. When we first started it was dark (just before the switch from Daylight Savings Time) and there was fog everywhere. There was also a mist rising from the newly poured cement so it was really pretty. However, there was frost on the ground in the mostly undeveloped area between Tualating and Sherwood, and so it was really cold. Made it harder to appreciate the beauty. Wall Panel Pour.
Here is a short five second video (120K, about 40 seconds to download) of the contractors people leveling out the cement with a sort of pipe that is attached to an electric motor so that it spins. When the poured cement was the right width they would use it to level the cement while the bar rested on the wooden dividers between the panels. Leveling roller.
Here is another short video of the crew leveling the concrete. It gets really hectic where they are pouring and this video is of the quiet time when there are four less guys involved as they aren't actually pouring. When I was working (and not taking pictures) there was also the guy directing the hose, the guy directing the boom (off to the side somewhat), the guy with the vibrator, and me with the cord. The guy with the vibrator needed to always move around so that he got every spot, which mean he often asked the guys who were shovelling to move. .
The pour finished about 11AM, but the crew from Matson Construction was still there smoothing the new concrete when we finished at 3:30PM. Here is a picture of one of the devices they used to smooth the concrete when it was already level and mostly set. There is also a short video of the guy running the smoothing device. It seems to run like a floor polisher. Finishing surface.
Here is a picture of Daron. He is the contractor (just one person) who lays out the steel rebar in each platform. Altogether there is about 200,000 pounds of it. He works hard and moves fast. He has been working 80 hour weeks for the last couple of weeks as he wants to finish this job up so that he will be available for another job he won when they call him. Daron and rebar.
This is a really short video of Daron tieing the rebar in place with tie wire that is on a roll from his belt on his left hip. He holds pliers in his right hand. There is also a longer video that is five seconds (about 120K, 40 seconds to download). Daron tieing rebar.
Here is a picture of Daron working on the panel from hell. This panel is a center support from the roof and so was extra difficult for everyone. It is a full eight inches so normal lumber couldn't be used (the other panels are 7.5 inches or 5.5 inches allowing 2x8's or 2x6s to be used as the edges. Also, there were a set of about a dozen one inch thick rebar wrapped in 3/8 inch rebar. If that wasn't enough, the welded ends of those two sets of heavy rebar didn't match the way they were supposed to be assembled. Doh! Daron spent almost two days on this panel. If the other 47 panels took that long, he would be much delayed on his next job. Center support panel.
Here is Daron's dog Taylor who keeps us company during the day. I have heard that she is part Chow, but she is really nice in any case. You don't normally see Taylor moving about except during breaks and lunch. I presume she is looking for a snack; after all we are eating, why can't she? Taylor.
Normally Taylor is lieing around somewhere close to Daron. It is hot, she stays in the shade. It has been real cold lately (end of October) with record low temperatures and so she has been mostly staying in the sun on a dark blue comforter/blanket that Daron brings for her. Taylor.
Here is the trailer we work out of. The front section is an office area with a fax and such. The back section is tool and such (with a ramp so we can carry the tools in and out each day in the two wheelbarrows and a flat cart. MegaPacific Trailer.
On my last few days we were just finishing the last of the wall and support forms. These will be roof supports, I suspect, and toward the center of the warehouse. I never got a picture of Cass, the lead guy on the job. I was about to take his picture after getting Jerry's when he asked that I not; he seems to be camera shy. There were also about six guys doing excavation and compacting around the exterior of the warehouse, but we didn't work with them very much. Support forms.
My last day at the site was also Daron's last full day. He had been working some horrendously long hours so that he could finish up this job to move on the the next job and they had asked that he start there the next day, Wednesday. Here (on Tuesday) Daron was finishing up with the rebar for the wall foundations in the last section to be poured. I am afraid that we weren't able to keep up with Daron (he is FAST) and so he will probably have to come back on the weekend to do the last of the rebar here as the plastic cloth hadn't been put over the wooden frames all the way to the end when we went home. Daron in wall foundation pit.
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This page was last updated on August 29, 2004