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Sellwood Bridge project leads to construction worker’s dream job

Destiny Wright and Brian Smith

As Multnomah County Purchasing Manager Brian Smith reported to the County Board recently, last year the County spent about $650 million buying goods and services.  How does all that spending help people in our community?  When Smith shared his report with the Board, he brought along someone who helped answer that question.

Destiny Wright grew up in Southern California. Her father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all pile bucks, men who made their living building foundations for buildings, bridges and docks.  Destiny followed a different career path and earned a college degree. For three years she worked in a management job for an international shipping firm.  She earned good money but wanted something more.

Destiny decided to change careers and follow her family’s path in construction.  She entered a union apprentice program for pilebucks and worked through eight required stages to become a journeywoman pilebuck this year.

“I spent the majority of my apprenticeship working on the Sellwood Bridge,” she told County Commissioners.  She helped drive piles into the Willamette River to support the detour bridge, worked on foundations that stopped the landslide west of the bridge, and helped build retaining walls along Highway 43.  “I wanted to build things outside and I found a great job to do that,” she said.

In a few weeks there will be a graduation ceremony for Destiny and her colleagues who graduated from the apprenticeship program.  Destiny’s relatives will be there to welcome the latest pilebuck into the family.