City Development
3:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Life At The Top Of A Seattle Tower Crane

A harrowing climb to the top of one of Seattle's construction cranes.
Credit KUOW Photo/Hannah Burn

According to Forbes Magazine, Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.

The city has huge construction projects in the works. Bertha, our giant drill, is working on a tunnel, and the Mercer area in South Lake Union is being entirely renovated. Condos are popping up in almost every neighborhood.

With all that construction comes tower cranes. The Record’s Steve Scher and Hannah Burn visited one of these tower cranes to experience life on top of the city.

The view is one of the perks of a crane operator's life.
Credit KUOW Photo/Hannah Burn

After a harrowing climb to the top, they met Ray Bisson, known as “Bludo” in the construction world. Bisson said a nickname comes with the territory.

Steve asked Bisson what it’s like on a crane when the wind is blowing. “This crane actually is just swaying back and forth,” he said. “You do not realize how much this crane will move in the wind and it makes noises, rattles, pops, and shakes.”

Bisson said he never imagined he’d end up being a crane operator. And quite frankly, he said, money was the biggest attraction. But the crane operator life is not for everyone. “There’s a lot of stress involved,” Bisson said. “These things can go to hell in a handbag in a second.”

It’s easy to imagine, watching Bisson pick up generators and fly them through the air. Thankfully, that day at the top of the tower crane the wind was quiet, the view spectacular.

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