News Releases

Uncle Sam wants you – to get vaccinated

Portland District
Published Sept. 29, 2021
Some human interaction is impossible to replicate in a virtual world. That's a major hurdle when your job depends on relationships. Craig did it to return to the workplace…safely.

Some human interaction is impossible to replicate in a virtual world. That's a major hurdle when your job depends on relationships. Craig did it to return to the workplace…safely.

In an effort to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations in their communities, Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees have been sharing their vaccination stories.

Many employees have very personal reasons for their choices – even before the federal mandate – and those range from family to community—from fellow colleagues to their fellow Americans.

“It’s a basic premise of virology that if you limit the replication of a virus, it doesn’t have a chance to mutate,” said Jeff Randall, fisheries biologist at The Dalles Dam. “When you get an immunization, you’re protecting yourself and everyone else around you.”

Col. Michael Helton, Portland District commander, echoed those comments.

“As engineers, we trust science,” said Helton. “As public servants – and many of us veterans – we’re no strangers to the call to something bigger than ourselves. My encouragement for our workforce to consult with their medical providers about getting the vaccine is in line with that trust of science and my ‘people always’ philosophy.”

Helton highlighted the fact that most of the District’s missions involve some aspect of public safety.

“Our engineers, rangers and support staff, many of whom interact with the public on a daily basis, are sharing these personal stories to help further educate those who are still considering the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Helton. “We are all lucky to have such dedicated public servants who are always looking for ways to serve and protect the public.”

“We cannot drop our guard and risk the safety and wellbeing of our family, friends and loved ones; or risk overwhelming our health care systems and frontline workers,” added Helton. “The COVID-19 vaccines are saving lives every day, and the data is showing vaccination provides the best protection against this deadly disease. Now is the time to educate yourselves and consult with your physician about getting vaccinated. This is not only for yourself, but for your family and fellow Americans.”

To view the “What’s your why?” vaccine campaign, visit: All videos are available for public use with or without credit.

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Portland District’s 150th Birthday: Portland District is one of the nation’s most comprehensive and diverse civil works programs and has been supporting the people of Oregon and southwest Washington since 1871. Throughout its 150-year history, the District has been operating locks and dams along the Columbia River, managing flood risks in the Willamette Valley and Rogue River Basin, maintaining Oregon's coastal waterways for navigation, and leading the Nation in hydropower generation. The team of more than 1,400 civil servants manage these missions all while ensuring equal attention is paid to environmental protection and restoration, fish and wildlife enhancement, and world-class recreation opportunities.

Tom Conning

Release no. 21-034

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