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Taking the COVID-19 fight to the streets: A city employee sanitizes the community

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  • 1 min to read
William Leasure

William Leasure sprays high-touch surfaces along downtown streets and city parks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

William Leasure roams the downtown streets and parks of the city of Walla Walla as a masked man against the coronavirus.

Strapped on his back a container full of disinfectant liquid travels with him as he sprays high-touch surfaces to eliminate the coronavirus and other possible germs, bacteria and infections.

The city of Walla Walla has been outspoken in its advocacy for hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing. But behind the scenes, they are also sanitizing commonly touched surfaces to take an extra step in preventing the spread of the COVID-19.

Leasure was hired by Walla Walla’s Parks and Recreation Department, using a portion of funds from the $1.02 million in Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act allocated to the city for COVID-19 response.

Seven days a week, including holidays and weekends (a busy time for touching city structures) Leasure sprays sanitizer on push-buttons at crosswalks, benches, trash cans, bicycle racks, handrails, touchpoints on water fountains, the city’s hand-washing stations, portable restrooms and more.

The dispensed sanitizer is Nutra Quat 64, which the city uses to sanitize and clean restrooms, Parks and Recreation Director Andy Coleman said.

At the beginning of his workday, Leasure takes a trip to sanitize around the city’s Sleep Center, following the various city-owned parks like Fort Walla Walla adjacent to the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center, Jefferson, Howard-Tietan, Mill Creek, Pioneer and Wildwood.

Driving to each location, he parks and walks around to sanitize each high touch spot on the city-owned property.

He finishes his rotation on downtown’s Main Street and hits the many side streets, including First Avenue, Second Avenue, Alder Street and Colville Street. Then he repeats the process.

Leasure said he completes his route, which he first began May 4, twice per day for a total of about five hours.

“He’s in constant motion, rotating from downtown to the parks, trying to keep us safe,” City Manager Nabiel Shawa said.

People thank him and buy him coffee often when they recognize what he is doing for the community during the time that germs are at the height of worries these days.

“I think it’s very important because we are keeping the germs and bacteria under control,” Leasure said. “It’s a great job to have, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

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Chloe LeValley can be reached at chloelevalley@wwub.com or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers the cities of Walla Walla and College Place as well as agriculture and the environment in the Walla Walla Valley. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University and joined the Union-Bulletin's team in October 2019.