Date: 5/5/19 1:57 pm
From: Mary Garrard <springazure1...>
Subject: [obol] Potential Vaux's Swift roost in Rainier

FYI from Larry Schwitters of VauxHappening fame.

>
> From: Larry Schwitters <leschwitters...>
> Subject: grate off
> Date: May 3, 2019 at 10:22:03 PM PDT
> To: Larry Schwitters <leschwitters...>
>
> Swift Seekers,
>
> We’ve been getting lots of WUFOOs from lots of different roosts. Like almost 200 already. But this weeks best story comes from Rainier, OR. We have a special guest story teller for that…..Darrell Whipple.
>
> The de-grating deed is done. After excluding birds for 27 years, the old brick chimney is now open to Vaux’s Swifts at Riverside Community Church in Rainier. It is the largest chimney in Rainier and one of the largest on the migration flyway, able to accommodate 20,000 roosting birds at one time, according to Larry Schwitters of Issaquah, founder and coordinator of Vaux’s Happening.
>
> Larry drove down to Rainier on this last day of April, expecting to watch the grate removal operation as a spectator. But he ended up fishing the grate out himself thirty feet up in the manlift piloted by Pastor Paul Rice. Nobody showed up to watch or to cover the story or take pictures, except me (without a camera). Thankfully, Paul’s teenage son David was there to help and run errands, and he scrambled up a smart phone and got a few pictures, as did Paul himself when back on the ground.
>
> I watched with some trepidation as Paul and Larry first figured out how to operate the manlift, a Z34/22E articulated electric, which had been delivered at 9:00 am — an hour early — by Star Rentals on Industrial Way. Paul, in the bucket, steered it around the building, managing some tight corners, to arrive at the launch site about ten feet from the chimney. Would this machine reach the top of the chimney?
>
> Paul and David went up in the bucket to scope it out. And horrors! The darn thing was two feet too short! What to do now? Brainstorming time.
>
> They decided to snug the lift up as close as the curb and fence would allow, and to rise up at a more advantageous angle. Larry went up with Paul this time and, channeling his inner rock climber, got his head and arms over the lip of the chimney to see what the grate looked like and what tools it would take to lift it out of there. Somehow, he still had two feet on the bucket.
>
> Back on the ground (which sounds like a given, but you wonder about it each time the machine balks at responding to your button-pushing), we brainstormed again, and retired to the “man room,” the former classroom now housing all manner of tools and building materials in splendid disarray. I muttered something like, "MacGuyver would be in heaven here.”
>
> We were there poking around until we had fashioned a couple rods with hooks deftly attached, such that the grate could be snagged and levered up and out. Paul and Larry were in their element; I was stewing about missing my Tai Chi for Arthritis class.
>
> Makeshift tools and ropes in hand, and Larry fitted out in a harness Paul had dug up, we launched again for the (hopefully) final effort in the manlift. Wonder of wonders, the plan worked like a charm! Larry in harness got the grate out by hook or crook (what could go wrong?), David snapped a couple pictures, and Paul landed the manlift with expert precision.
>
> And the audience cheered (well, that would be me) as curious swifts flew about overhead in a bright, blue sky. Four happy grate-busters were ready for lunch.
>


 
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