Making masks brings teams together

Still from ODOT Region 3 Mask Makers
ODOT District 3 Mask Makers

Most Oregonians know that face masks are difficult to find in stores right now. With the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control to wear a mask when going out, ODOT’s District 3 Maintenance office, Salem, found a way to respond in order to keep crews – and the people they work with – safe: they made around 250 masks themselves.

“It was a team effort. We were all cutting fabric and sewing – we all worked together,” Ronnie Leos, District 3 office coordinator said. After seeing tutorials online, Leos simplified the template and taught her coworkers, including administrative staff, permit specialists and a supervisor, how to make face masks.

District Manager Cole Mullis recognized how important this effort was – and not just for safety.

“We started this before the recommendation came out to wear them when we could not get other masks,” he said. “Then when the region order came in we only got a few masks, so we decided to make enough so that every employee has two masks. That way they can wash every night to keep them clean.”

District staff members donated the fabric and materials to make the masks. The administrative and permit staff cut the patterns and did the sewing. The effort brought the whole team together – all while remaining safely apart – and that made Assistant Manager Tim Swift especially pleased.

“I’m very proud of the entire admin and permit crews for stepping up, coming up with this idea and making so many masks on top of completing all of their work during such a difficult time.”