Photo by Sunny Fenton
Rachel Goering demonstrates proper lift techniques along with Gigi Estrada and Luis Lemus at the former Safeway site in Queen Anne. Goering is the lift director/lead rigger at the construction site.
Photo by Sunny Fenton Rachel Goering demonstrates proper lift techniques along with Gigi Estrada and Luis Lemus at the former Safeway site in Queen Anne. Goering is the lift director/lead rigger at the construction site.

NAME THE CRANE FINALISTS

Community partners hosting the effort to name the tower crane on Queen Anne Avenue have reviewed all the suggestions sent to us from the public. Now, residents are asked to vote on their favorite of the following names:

Calvin, after a longtime Queen Anne mailman who is retiring

Kirby

Cranium

Frasier

To vote for your favorite name, email qamagnews@pacificpublishingcompany.com, subject Queen Anne Crane name final; vote on the Queen Anne & Magnolia News’ Facebook or Twitter pages; or vote from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a booth at the next Harvest Market, Nov. 19, at Queen Anne Avenue North and Crockett Street. Nov. 19 is the last day to vote. The name to receive the most votes will be announced in the Nov. 23 Queen Anne & Magnolia News and at the construction site that day.

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Rachel Goering, the lift director/lead rigger at the 21 Boston construction site on Queen Anne Avenue North, always knew she wanted to work with cranes.

Throughout the years, she has worked many different jobs and enjoys her current role for Cascade Tower and Rigging and being responsible for crane safety at the Queen Anne construction site and working in an industry that includes a lot more diversity.

Goering’s first exposure to the world of construction was when she was a little girl. Her father was a site superintendent for Turner Construction Company and would take her to work with him on Saturdays. Back then, there were not a lot of women in the construction trades, so she has been really happy to see more women joining the profession.

She began her construction career as a laborer — doing concrete pours, digging and cleaning up the sites. Then she started to work on her 3-4 years of operator’s apprenticeship with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, a union representing around 14,000 workers from Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Being a crane operator was not Goering’s favorite job, however, because she was spending too much time sitting in the operator’s cab. Instead, she prefers to stay active as the rigger. She spends her day hooking things up, teaching others how to rig things and “making sure all of the lifting is done right,” she said.

Safety is the No. 1 concern as crane operators make up to 50 “picks” in a day. This Queen Anne crane is a tower crane and can do picks ranging from 10-pound picks of tools up to 13,000-pound picks of heavy equipment.

As her job description has grown and evolved, so has the industry as a whole. Goering said, at one point, she “was the only female on a site with 500 people."

As the construction world has slowly expanded, Goering said she is proud to be out there as a reminder to other women that they work in construction, too. She has even made progress advocating for more inclusive clothing in construction. Carhartt is one of the top outfitters for the construction industry.

“I used to call them and tell them that we need women's clothes,” Goering said, adding clothing options for women has grown through the years.  

Scott Donder, the 21Boston site superintendent, said there is a greater shift in the industry that features more women and minorities.

“We have found it to be amazing.”

He said people can see Goering every morning and throughout the day at the Queen Anne construction site because “every pick is monitored by Rachel.”

In addition to Goering’s management and attention to detail, he said there are many other safety measures in place at the site.

In the case of strong winds, workers would not be operating the crane. But the design of the crane allows it to move with the winds, hence the term weather-vaning. By allowing the crane to move with the wind, it reduces pressure on the crane and can prevent damage. There is also an automatic override to serve as a containment for the loads. It is equipped with an auto shut-off that ensures no equipment will be suspended over the street or sidewalks or come too close to the power lines.

Donder began his career in construction after graduating from Colorado State with a degree in construction management. After a decade of project management experience in Los Angeles, he came to the Pacific Northwest and made the switch to the superintendent’s office. Some of his other duties at the site superintendent include site organization, managing complex schedules and ensuring safety of the site, crew, community and neighborhood.

Recent schedule efforts have included completing the site excavation and getting to work on the substructure, which has meant a lot of concrete pouring. A big day at this site can include up to 65 concrete mixer trucks. Each truck carries about 10-12 cubic yards of concrete. Donder said as construction centers on the concrete foundation, workers have to remain mindful of the weather conditions. A little bit of rain during the placement is not a bad thing, however. Concrete cures as it hits the ground.

Both Donder and Goering are enjoying this project in Queen Anne and find the neighborhood to be friendly and a nice place to hang out at the end of a workday. They take pride in their work keeping the community safe and enjoy answering questions from the community.

“I love it when the kids come around staring over the fence,” Goering said.