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Happy Public Service Recognition Week!

SDOT's Roadway Structures crew. Photo Credit: SDOT

Public Service Recognition Week is celebrated the first week of May since 1985 to honor federal, state, county, local, and tribal government employees. Read more about 2021 Public Service Recognition Week here.

We at SDOT are honored to serve you, Seattle residents. Some SDOT staff have shared their reasons for serving our community.  

Barbara Abelhauser, Bridge Operator 

“I have operated nine different drawbridges in three different states over the past 20 years, and feel that bridgetending is my calling. I believe the safety of the traveling public is of utmost importance, as do all my coworkers. I enjoy doing my part quietly and in a way that causes the public to not even know I’m there, because that appeals to my sense of mystery and quirkiness.” 

Read more about Barbara in this blog from 2016. She was featured on NPR’s StoryCorps! 

Barbara Abelhauser. 

Madison Neyers, Street Use Division Permit Reviewer  

“After four years of college in Big Sky Country (Bozeman, Montana), I am excited to be back home in Washington and living in the Seattle area. It is a rewarding feeling being able to look over projects restoring the historical elements of the city as well as new developments. Growing up in the community, I have always admired this city and I am proud to be contributing as part of the SDOT Street Use team.” 

Madison Neyers. 

Greg Funk, Roadway Structures Project Manager and Structural Inspector 

“My greatest joy is linking neighborhoods together with stairways and pathways and make it safe and accessible to all and do my little part to improve the lives of my neighbors and people I serve in the City of Seattle. A couple of my favorite quotes: 

‘With love and patience, nothing is impossible.’ (Daisaku Ikeda). 

‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ (Mahatma Ghandi).” 

Greg Funk. 

Alyse Nelson, Street Use, Public Space Manager 

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“I love public service because it means working every day to do my small part to help make Seattle even better for everyone. One of the things I enjoy most is getting to work with smart, caring people who are similarly-driven – including my colleagues as well as residents, business owners, and community organizers. I learn so much every day from the people I work with! 

Our work in Public Space Management brings people out to streets and sidewalks, turning spaces typically for transportation into people places.”

Alyse at a Play Street in the High Point neighborhood in 2019. SDOT partnered with Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association for the event. Photo Credit: Alyse Nelson. 

“Our role is to help make streets vibrant and lively while balancing needs for mobility and access. I remember going to Pioneer Square to see the first sidewalk café permit I issued and watching people happily dining. I smiled knowing I had just a tiny role in making that a reality. 

“I also have worked side-by-side community residents to close streets to through-traffic and open them for play. One of the highlights of my career to-date has been working the logistics and then helping on-the-ground to set up Play Streets in Seattle neighborhoods. I’ve met passionate people who care deeply about their communities, giving their time and energy to make spaces for kids and adults to come together for play and community-building. I carried barricades and duct-taped Street Closed signs alongside community volunteers. We put sidewalk chalk out, set up a giant Connect 4, and waited. Then we watched as kids came running out of their homes and into the street to play. Seeing the dedication of community volunteers and the excitement in kids’ eyes to have more space to play inspires me to continue looking for ways to advance and improve our programs.” 

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A play street in Queen Anne neighborhood in 2019. SDOT worked with Queen Anne Neighborhood Greenways for this event. Photo Credit: Alyse Nelson.