St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.  May the luck o' the Irish be with you.  This year we have the 38th running of the Shamrock Run here in Portland, which is a distance run.  A few years back, my wife got up early Sunday morning, without telling anyone in the household, drove downtown, and ran the 5K!  Talk about going to great lengths to get away from the kids (and the husband)!

I used to do street-clearing for all of the runs and races back in the day, and the Shamrock Run was always the first run of the year.
  The organization who put on the run had permission from city officials to clear certain downtown blocks of cars, so they contracted with our company to do the vehicle moves.  There was a pattern to the street-clearing for a run:
1.            Arrive early, 6:30 a.m.
2              Spend 30 minutes trying to track down your contact with the race officials, whom you don't know, you don't know what he/she looks like, they're not looking for you, and they're way too busy to deal with you.
3.            Find out which streets need to be cleared, and there are going to be about two blocks where they "forgot" to put up the "No Parking" signs the day before, so they are packed with cars.
4.            The two blocks are right at the start, but some bleeding heart wants to make announcements to the crowd and give people a chance to move their cars, so 20 minutes before race time, you're "cleared" to move the 12 cars on the block to the nearest legal parking space.  Remember, there are 10,000 people there to run or watch the race.  There are no open legal parking spaces within a mile.
5.            Full throttle moving cars for 20 minutes.
6.            Get two free t-shirts:  one for you, and one for the boss who’s asleep at home.
7.            2 hours on the phone with the Records Dept. telling them which cars you moved, from where, and to where.
Parade moves are slightly different.  We would also move cars for the Starlight Parade and the Rose Parade, events that take place in late May/early June.  In this case, sometimes you get to drive right down the parade route, moments before the parade starts, overheads on, moving some poor schmuck’s car two miles from where he parked it, doing the parade wave to all the citizens.  At least there’s some fame and glory involved with the parade moves.  The only times I ever received more public adulation while doing a tow was the few times I towed a police car.  A lot of people find that amusing, for some reason, and will cheer and yell with a raised fist from their own car.  Which is a little strange when the officer is in the tow truck with you, muttering obscenities under his breath.
Have a safe and profitable week.
Nick Kemper

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