Seattle City (spot)Light: Debbie Martin

Debbie Martin just celebrated her 30-year anniversary with City Light. “Originally, I was brought on as a temp to help with Skagit Tours, but that evolved into a full-time position here at the Skagit,” Debbie said. “Now, I manage the bunkhouse and take care of the hospitality for our crews and visitors.”

Debbie didn’t grow up far from the Skagit Hydroelectric Project—just a short drive away in the small town of Rockport. She graduated from Concrete High School and lived in Marblemount. She now lives in Newhalem, where she’s resided the past eight years. “I just love it here,” Debbie shared. “You can’t beat the beauty of this place. Plus, I get to walk to work!”

Debbie grew up with five brothers, each of whom she loves dearly. She also has four kids and 11 grandkids. “On the weekend, my house is filled with grandkids. They love it here as much as I do!” Debbie exclaimed. In this week’s (spot)Light, Debbie talks about life at the Skagit and what she enjoys most about her role.

Debbie near the Skagit River

“One of the things I love about my job is that I get to make the out-of-towners feel welcome. I meet a lot of our crews who come to Skagit to work on different projects. They all know me. I just want to make sure they’re comfortable and happy with good food and a clean house. I guess the ‘mom’ in me comes out—I can’t help it! Right now, they’re doing a big job at Diablo with Generator 32 so we have machinists and electricians staying with us through October.”

“There’s so much to do in the Skagit Valley. We get out a lot and go camping, fishing and hiking. There’s a campground about six miles from here that’s one of our favorite spots. We also like getting out to Mount Baker. I have a little motor home, so we all pile in and make an adventure of it. I also love to garden at my house. I want my yard to look good; taking care of my flowers is important! When I was younger, my girlfriends and I would go to Ross Lake Resort and stay in the floating cabins. That was probably some of my best times up here.”

“I’ve been lucky to experience many types of roles here at the Skagit. I’ve enjoyed them all because I learned something new about the utility each time and got to meet a lot of good people. I’ve worked at the powerhouses. I’ve helped as a cook in the kitchen. I was a deck-hand for the Skagit Tours. I really loved that. I got to meet all kinds of people and the beauty of the ride was unbelievable. During that time, we did three tours a day, up to 80 people each tour. We had people from all over and it was always neat to meet people from different parts of the world. What fun! Now, I really enjoy Ladder Creek Falls. It’s one of my grandkids’ favorite spots. I also love the Chicken Dinner. I’ve been here 30 years and I could never get tired of eating it!”