HILLSBORO, OR – The City of Hillsboro's facilities and fleet department director, David Robinson, who also serves as a commander in the Naval Reserve, is recruiting his troops to assist in department projects, according to the Hillsboro Argus.

A group of around 25 reserve Seabees, or Naval Construction Battalions, from the local base at Swan Island will spend the weekend of July 11-12 in a service project to reconstruct the aging wooden stairs that lead down from the parking lot to the trail. They will also smooth out one section of trail and correct problems in its slope to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Argus.

Robinson saw a match between the Seabee's training needs and the city's need for maintenance at the wetlands. The Facilities and Fleet Department is coordinating the project, working with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation for the design, planning and the purchase of materials, reported the Argus.

The city is making the most of this opportunity. Although the stairs on the trail are not in dangerous condition now, they would have had to be replaced within the next two years, Robinson said.

The Seabee work crew coming to Hillsboro is composed of reserves mostly from the Portland-Vancouver area, and a couple live in Washington County itself, Robinson said. They will spend the night at Jackson Bottom.

The Seabees, or Naval Construction Battalions, date back to World War II when they built airstrips, bridges, roads, barracks and other buildings in advance of troops. Since the 1980s, their role has expanded to providing aid and construction services to civilians in war or disaster zones, reported the Argus.

The Seabees coming to Hillsboro are attached to a naval reserve battalion stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash. Their group is scheduled to deploy to active duty in Afghanistan in 2010. When not on active duty, they keep their skills up by performing volunteer service projects for local communities, reported the Argus.