Linn County parks crew namedbest in state by Marine Board

Linn County Parks maintenance crew has been recognized by the State Marine Board as the Best Maintenance Staff in the state.

Brian Carroll, Linn County parks director, said he is proud of the award because “It comes from an agency that knows every facility in the state. The marine board checks on all facilities to which it provides grants. They know who’s doing what.”

Carroll said his staff, headed up by Richard Frick of Sweet Home, is top notch and has saved the county thousands of dollars because of their expertise and abilities.

“We have a great crew,” Carroll said. “Without the crew we have, we wouldn’t be able to do half the work we get done. They have the expertise and a commitment to quality work. They often come to me with ideas that save the county lots of money. They can often build things we need much cheaper than if we had to go buy them.”

Many of the crew members have contracting backgrounds and that has proven beneficial when it comes to building new outhouses and shower rooms throughout the parks system.

“These guys can build everything from picnic tables to shelter houses,” Carroll said.

Frick has worked for the county since 1986 and took over crew management in 1994. Full-time staff members include rangers Kirk Mikkelsen, Roaring River; Steve Lambert, Sunnyside; and Larry Radie, Waterloo and crew members Rodney Keenon, John Hefty,and Earl Bush.

The crew maintains 19 facilities plus the Moyer House and Museum in Brownsville.

“This crew handles about 85% of our construction projects,” Carroll said. “We couldn’t have come up with enough money to build Waterloo Campground without the cost savings created by the staff handling so much of the work. They did everything except the cat work.”

Carroll said the crew’s skill is noted throughout the state.

“When I go to get grant money for a project, the agencies know the quality work these guys do and they love providing a grant for us because their money will go so much further,” Carroll said.

It costs Linn county about $6,000 per new campsite for construction costs, Carroll said. The state will spend up to $26,000 per site.

The crew’s next project will be upgrading the John Neal Memorial Park on the North Santiam. The 30-acre park will get new playground equipment, upgrades to its 40 campsites, showers and a trail system.

In the past year the crew has poured some 300 yards of concrete. Over the last two years they have built two new restrooms/shower houses at Sunnyside campground and one at Waterloo; they’ve added four vault toilets, 12 block toilets and 300 feet of new bridge at McDowell Creek.

They’ve also built new fire pits and kept up with regular maintenance on the park facilities.

Carroll said the parks have an estimated 100,000 visitors each year.

The parks operation budget, not including capital needs, is about $700,000 per year.

Linn County

Campgrounds: John Neal Memorial Park, Whitcomb Creek Park, Sunnyside Park and Waterloo Park.

Day use: Roaring River Park, McDowell Creek Park, Lewis Creek Park and McKercher Park.

Boat ramps: Buell Miller boat ramp, Freeway Lakes, Gedney Creek, Lyons/Mehama boat ramp, McCartney, Peoria, Stayton Bridge boat ramp, Thistle Creek boat ramp.

Waysides: Crawfordsville covered bridge, Larwood, McClun.

To make campground and designated group use reservations, call 541-967-3917.