Richmond’s cash-strapped code enforcement unit to get regular help from Chevron employees

Richmond's cash-strapped code enforcement unit to get regular help from Chevron employees

Tim Higares beamed at the number of workers who showed up Tuesday to help remove graffiti and litter from a seedy section of the Richmond Greenway behind the Target store.

The manager of the Richmond Police Department’s code enforcement unit, which is tasked with ridding the city of blight, said normally his budget-constrained crew consists of just two people tackling the city’s rampant graffiti and litter problems.

That was until a group of Chevron Richmond employees approached Higares asking for a chance to help eliminate some of Richmond’s eyesores.

Tim Higares, manager of the RPD’s code enforcement unit, instructs Chevron Richmond volunteers on graffiti and litter abatement.

About 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, eight members of Chevron Richmond Refinery’s technical division met with some of Higares’ crew in the Interstate Highway 80 underpass, a hot spot for graffiti and litter, and got to work. While a code enforcement crew member scanned for hypodermic needles, the Chevron workers began picking up litter, with some workers pledging up to four hours of their workday toward the effort.

Even better, said Higares, Chevron Richmond employees have expressed a desire to make their volunteer work with code enforcement a regular occurrence, possibly two or three times a month.

“We’re one city and we all try to help each other out,” Higares said, adding that the help is especially needed with city departments enduring budget constraints.

codeenforcement.10-7-2Police Chief Chris Magnus has been supportive of the volunteer effort, Higares added.

Will Warkentin, a Chevron Richmond quality control chemist, said he was looking for a tangible way to make a difference in Richmond when his team reached out to the code enforcement department.

“We really just want to have a positive impact in the community,” said David Dahoin, a product engineer specialist.

Along with graffiti and litter removal, Higares hopes to also employ the Chevron Richmond workers on weed abatement projects.

Not only can the Chevron Richmond employees come in numbers, many are trained at handling potentially dangerous materials, Higares added, which is useful and often necessary when conducting code enforcement work.