Working for You: Hillsboro's Joel Jose Camacho Ramirez, Senior Parks Maintenance Technician
"When kids ask what I do, I tell them I’m a 'water man' because I work on irrigation. My work helps people walk, run, and have parties with their families in our parks."
Years you've worked for Hillsboro:
13 years full-time, two years as a seasonal worker.
Where have you lived?
I grew up in a small village in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Fun fact from Joel:
My hidden talent is speaking my mother tongue, a language called Mixteco Bajo. Spanish is my second language, and now I also speak a little bit of English. Not many people know that when I arrived in the USA, I was alone and without my family . My story is the same as many children on the border right now who don’t have a family with them.
What is a typical day's work?
Digging a trench to lay irrigation lines , repairing a broken irrigation line , installing a new sprinkler head to replace a broken sprinkler , and rotating through all the parks watering lawns and plants.
Tell us a good story about your job!
We winterize the irrigation lines each year by blowing water out of the inground sprinklers. We do this to prevent freezing, which can cause burst or broken pipes and parts. It looks like we are watering the grass or plants. People think we are crazy and come up to us asking why we are still watering when it is raining.
What is the most rewarding or inspiring part of your job?
When community members come to me and say “thank you” for what I am doing or that the parks look beautiful. I like knowing that I am doing something good for my community and all the neighbors. I see how many people go to the parks to use it for their activities and they are excited to go back again the next day. That inspires me to keep doing my job because I know that the community needs it.
When is your job the busiest or most intense?
It starts in spring and goes all the way into summer. Summer is the busiest time because many people use the parks for family events. The parks have to be clean, grass has to be cut, dry space needs to be watered, and shrubs need to be pruned or trimmed.
Joel's Hillsboro favorites:
- Place: Shute Park
- Community Event: 5 de Mayo, July 4th Parade, Oregon International Air Show
- Restaurant: Juan Colorado
- Park: Orenco Woods Nature Park
What led you to work for the City of Hillsboro?
I was seeking a job, and a temporary employment agency sent me to the City of Hillsboro, where I started working in the parks.
What is your most memorable former job?
I picked all kinds of berries in Oregon and grapes, tomatoes, and vegetables in California. I enjoyed traveling to different states, meeting new people, and seeing different places.
What advice or information would you share with Hillsboro residents?
We are living in a nice city. Everybody working for the City of Hillsboro cares about our people and our community, so we work hard to maintain a clean and safe city for all.
What Joel's coworkers say about him:
“Joel, I believe, is the epitome of the city’s core values. Very thoughtful and caring, he treats everyone with respect. He will go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service not only to the park patrons but to his coworkers as well.”
- David McMurtrey, Parks Maintenance Technician
Read other Working for You profiles of Hillsboro's employees:
- Victor Castro, Police Department Detective
- Tami Cockeram, Community Services Manager
- Kristi Wilson, Workforce Development Coordinator