COUNTY: Workers Facing Harassment in Lemmon Valley

HESCO barriers along Lemmon Drive in Lemmon Valley. Image: Bob Conrad.
HESCO barriers along Lemmon Drive in Lemmon Valley. Image: Bob Conrad.

Government employees and contractors working in Lemmon Valley have been directed not to engage citizens if they face harassment. That was the message interim County Manager Dave Solaro gave today to the Washoe Board of County Commissioners.

“I have directed the work crews to stop any work any time they feel unsafe based on the reactions of our citizens,” he said. “One of the things I want to make sure is our work crews go home every night. Safety is very important to Washoe County as a whole.”

Solaro’s comments come in the wake of ongoing flood issues in the area, a source of constant frustration for residents.

County Engineer Dwayne Smith in late August announced that road crews — employees and contractors — have been threatened and harassed while working on Swan Lake flooding.


Residents [were] purposefully going out of their lane to hit a puddle and splash their crew with water.”

“This has been a concern of mine, and I’ve also heard it voiced by the City of Reno,” Smith said.

Washoe County staff and contractors working in the area have experienced purposeful speeding up and driving toward them, cursing, yelling and other confrontational behavior, said county spokesperson Amy Ventetuolo.

“Last week our contracted driver reported people speeding up and swerving at him,” she said. “He actually came off the job and called us as he did not feel safe.”

A vendor handling pumping equipment said that “while working on Lemmon Drive, residents [were] purposefully going out of their lane to hit a puddle and splash their crew with water,” Venetuolo added.

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A Lemmon Valley resident, commenting online, called Solaro’s statement today disingenuous.

“If there have truly been residents endangering workers safety and lives why are there no police reports?” asked Lori Beach. “From what I understand, it is a citable offense to endanger road crews. If residents are putting workers at risk, then yes, that must stop and those residents cited and held accountable for endangering the lives of the workers.”

Ventetuolo said that the crews “are working through weather and long shifts to have the residents and community treat them this way, [so it] is also impactful to their morale.”

City of Reno spokesperson Rebecca Venis confirmed today that their staff has also received similar reports.

“Road maintenance crews have experienced the following while conducting road and ditch maintenance work on Lemmon Drive: residents speeding up and driving towards them or very close to them, [and] residents cursing, flipping them off, and being confrontational with crews,” Venis said.

Bob Conrad
About Bob Conrad 1105 Articles
Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.

8 Comments

  1. It sounds like local government is trying to tamper with the jury pool by making the residents look evil before the trial for damages resumes in December.

  2. This is simply a diversion. There are jerks in every community that thinks it’s funny to splash people (road workers, pedestrians, etc.) in rainy weather. If a car was driving aggressively at me, I would at least have a description of that car and file a police report. Tammy Holt-Still and Denise Ross have backed the county and city into a corner with proof of ordinances and laws that they have violated and now the city and county are grasping at straws to make us look bad. They are trying to get Lemmon Valley residents on the defensive so the matter of why it hasn’t been fixed gets lost in the shuffle. They have spent more money on “researches” than it would have cost to fix the problem to begin with. The city of Reno was found guilty of causing flooding to occur and now want to slur the names of Lemmon Valley residents. Now, you tell me who’s striking out at people. Revenge? Punishment? A cover-up of misguided funds? Your guess.

    • The city screwed up big time and needs to either buy the homeowners out at current fair market value, and compensate all residents for living with this mess….Or fix it now as #1 priority for all of Washoe county now before the weather floods it again! If there’s a problem with safety and security, hire armed guards. I feel for the workers harassed, its the top management of the city and the County that caused it, and didnt acknowledge it forcing the residents to sue,not the workers.

  3. Lori, imagine working on a road crew and you’re taking care of whatever your job is. A car drives by and splashes a huge puddle at you. In what world are you able to even identify the color of the car by the time you gather yourself after that happens in order to file a report? It’s nonsense to think that there is any information you could offer authorities other than “I was splashed by a car.” To claim that these crews are being disingenuous is ridiculous. Are we now going to be required to pay for a monitor to watch over the crews so that assholes don’t endanger their lives? Actually, maybe that’s a good idea if it means this nonsense stops.

    • I have never said the crews are disingenuous I have and do say Mr Solaro is. I have also said at every point that it is wrong to put the crews in danger the crew are there to do a job nothing more nothing less, any residents that do this should be cited. I have also said why was this not brought up when it happened and not months later. If need be then yes there should be law enforcement when there is a need much like we see on the freeway with NHP in work zones. Lemmon Dr is two lane and in some places very narrow and if a vehicle is doing well over the posted 25 MPH then yes I would also feel threatened. As for your overall statement yes there should be a report of ALL interaction, I was told by a Washoe County Sheriff Community Liaison some time ago when I questioned the lack of presence in the area, that is how they assign officers is by need and that is determined by call data and volume.

    • The city screwed up big time and needs to hire security, hire armed guards. I feel for the workers harassed, its the top management of the city and the County that caused it, and didnt acknowledge it forcing the residents to sue,not the workers. People everywhere need to take responsibility for their mistakes.In this case the city and the county.

  4. I have taken your article and added comment –
    “I have directed the work crews to stop any work any time they feel unsafe based on the reactions of our citizens,” he said. “One of the things I want to make sure is our work crews go home every night. Safety is very important to Washoe County as a whole.” – The crew should have also been instructed to contact law enforcement 911 for assistance and to file a report on the spot. We as residents of Lemmon Valley do not support the endangerment of workers, offenders should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

    Solaro’s comments come in the wake of ongoing flood issues in the area, a source of constant frustration for residents. — If what is being reported is happening, it need to stop and stop NOW. With that said you too would be frustrated if you had to live with flooding, detours, stench, blight in your community for over two and a half years, no were else in the County would residents have to live like this with no end in sight and no real solutions to correct or stop the issue.

    County Engineer Dwayne Smith in late August announced that road crews — employees and contractors — have been threatened and harassed while working on Swan Lake flooding. –– Release the official police reports, find it hard to understand if you were threatened or harassed you did not take a vehicle plate or description of the person and file an official report.

    Washoe County staff and contractors working in the area have experienced purposeful speeding up and driving toward them, cursing, yelling and other confrontational behavior, said county spokesperson Amy Ventetuolo. –– Again, Release the official police reports, find it hard to understand if you were threatened or harassed you did not take a vehicle plate or description of the person and file an official report.

    “Last week our contracted driver reported people speeding up and swerving at him,” she said. “He actually came off the job and called us as he did not feel safe.” — Again, Release the official police reports, find it hard to understand if you were threatened or harassed you did not take a vehicle plate or description of the person and file an official report.

    A vendor handling pumping equipment said that “while working on Lemmon Drive, residents [were] purposefully going out of their lane to hit a puddle and splash their crew with water,” Venetuolo added. — When was this? Looking back the last time there was standing water on Lemmon Drive was on or about 8 April why are you waiting until September to report this?

    Ventetuolo said that the crews “are working through weather and long shifts to have the residents and community treat them this way, [so it] is also impactful to their morale.” —Again when did this happen there has been no weather related events that should have caused “working through weather and long shifts” in some time the last heavy rain even that caused the workers to come out in force was on or about 8 April. I am offended at Ventetuolo’s use of “community” Lemmon Valley, as a Community has in NO way done what has been reported. There are bad and dumb in every “community” of this County. If your staff is truly at risk then shame on you as the leader for not reporting vehicle/person descriptions to the police.

    City of Reno spokesperson Rebecca Venis confirmed today that their staff has also received similar reports. —Again, Release the official police reports, find it hard to understand if your staff were threatened or harassed they did not take a vehicle plate or description of the person and file an official report.

    “Road maintenance crews have experienced the following while conducting road and ditch maintenance work on Lemmon Drive: residents speeding up and driving towards them or very close to them, [and] residents cursing, flipping them off, and being confrontational with crews,” Venis said. — Again if your staff were threatened or harassed why did they not take a vehicle plate or description of the person and file an official report. Ms. Venis you also need to instruct your road maintenance crews that the speed limit on Lemmon Drive is 25 MPH. Not that it in anyway justifies bad behavior by any citizen using Lemmon Dr, I have personally seen a city truck hit the one remaining “bump” so hard and fast that one of the side rails flew off along with an item in the back of the truck into the oncoming lane.

    Like I said in my original quoted post I find it disingenuous for county/city/contractor officials to come out with blanket statements, some of these same officials have told residents they will not accept complaints with out bases so whey are they now being allowed to do the same thing on the record at a County Council meeting. As a resident posted on the Valley FB page we know the “workers” have a crap job and we are grateful for what they do to keep us and our homes safe some of them also live in the Valley. Mr Solaro, Mr. Smith, Ms. Ventetuolo, Ms. Venis Please we beg you file reports hold these bad apples accountable no one should be endangered at anytime on or off the job.

  5. Land owners are angry at the years of destruction of their properties. Bad, no science decisions made by a handful of commissioners and city council, has had an expensive impact on Lemmon Valley residents. The county Managers are flailing, and failing to correct those bad decisions. The water in that lake is poison. I concern for residents because I’ve noticed many people are sick. Horses are sick. It appears to me it started with the mass flooding. Land owners are angry. The city f-ed thier lives up.

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