By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Jesse Swain isn’t afraid of heights, but he admits the roof of St. Francis de Sales Cathedral gives him pause.

“The pitch you can deal with. The height makes it scary,” he said. “I’m not afraid of heights, but this one is a little intimidating.”

The Baker City church’s twin steeples top out at 113 feet off the ground, and this week Swain and his crew from Upson Company in Caldwell, Idaho, prepped the steep roof for new shingles.

They’ve been working on the roof for about a month, and expect the job to take at least another four weeks.

Initial tasks included removing the old shingles, prepping the wood, adding a layer of watertight sheeting, and finishing metal work.

Swain expects to start installing shingles next week, which he said is a quicker part of the job.

The crew uses several lifts to reach the roof, and workers are secured with ropes and harnesses, even when inside the lift basket.

“There’s no worries — just a little paranoid,” Swain said.

The lift does sway a bit, and the workers must come down if the wind blows faster than 27 mph.

The crew varies from four to six, and they work Monday through Thursday.

Swain said quite a few people have stopped to watch them work on the roof.

“Everybody in town has a picture of me,” he said.

See more in the Aug. 3, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.