March 20, 2009 Volume 110 Number 6

Construction crew turns ‘tip’ into cash for kids

What started as a lark at a downtown Portland construction site has emerged into something special to help kids at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Roger Bullock, a 12-year member of Operating Engineers Local 701, found a penny on the floor of the elevator he operates five days a week at the Courtyard by Marriott redevelopment project at Southwest 5th and Oak in downtown Portland. “That’s my tip for the day,” he quipped to co-workers as he taped the penny to the wall of the elevator.

By the end of the day, a nickel and dime were taped to the wall next to the penny. “It went from nickels and dimes to quarters and dollar bills,” Bullock said. Pretty soon, Bullock had more than $10 on the wall.

“I didn’t want to keep the money,” he told the NW Labor Press. So he posted a sign saying: “Children’s Cancer Society.”

Word spread that Bullock was giving the money to the cancer center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. In less than a week more than $200 was tacked to the elevator walls.

Project superintendent Kelly Rowland said donations will continue for the duration of the job — which is expected to be the end of March, at which time the money will be counted and matched by Hoffman Construction, the general contractor on the project.

At this juncture, the job employs anywhere from 80 to 100 workers from all the construction trades. Those workers have now issued a challenge to construction crews at other projects downtown to meet or beat the donation, which will easily top $500 before it’s all said and done.

“These are tough times for a lot of people, and charities, too,” Bullock said. “We’re all fortunate to be working. It’s the least we can do.”

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