Moving international cargo means keeping the Columbia River pathway clear. Helping keep it that way is Geneane DeNardis, our Dredge Oregon fillcat operator. Find out a little more about her job and where you’ll find her afterhours.
How would you describe your job to a first grader?
When describing my job to someone that doesn’t know, I just tell them that we remove sand from the bottom of the river. This in turn makes the river deeper so ships can transport cargo without rubbing their bellies on the bottom. We pump this water/sand mixture through floating pipes onto permitted islands on the Columbia River. This makes the island bigger and wider and we control that with our dozers.
What’s the coolest part of your job?
It’s pretty cool to work on and close to the water. I do love coming back to work the next day and seeing how the island has changed in a matter of 24 hours. It is also a privilege to be working with coworkers that have been doing this most of their lives.
What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
The one or two things that might surprise people about me is that I am an artist and I have a passion for lavender. I wood burn pictures of Oregon on conks, a fungus that grows on trees. It is like a dried canvas. I also have about 500 lavender plants and plan to get involved again with the Lavender Association in the future, and harvest and distill the oil.
What’s on your mind when you are driving a 43-ton dozer?
Sometimes I have nothing on my mind at all, being away from the hustle and bustle and enjoying the beauty.
What should everyone know about dredging?
Without dredging, there would be no cargo ships, and without cargo ships we could not export products like grains, or import goods like cars.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
That answer changed often, most importantly—happily. I tried many things and am still doing some of them at a different level. I was a fast food server, aerobics instructor, travel agent, mom, vineyard owner, member of the Lavender Association; sold bundles of wood to over 180 stores in Oregon and Washington, and rented my place out for events and weddings. Most of my time at the present is dredging and I thoroughly enjoy it.