Since You Asked: Cooking up a horrible smell

Why does the roof work on Hoover Elementary School have such a terrible smell? Also, workers seem to begin working at around 6 a.m. Don't city ordinances prohibit construction before 7 a.m.?

— Rob H., Medford

What's offending your schnoz is the odor of wet, sticky asphalt.

Apparently, it's typical for schools to have asphalt roofs. Don't fret; even our trivia-filled brains didn't know that. The material is common on flat and gently sloping roofs

Asphalt provides a thicker membrane on the roof, which is more durable and easy to repair, said Medford schools facilities manager Mark Button.

The roofing work will wrap up in about a week, so you can breathe easy.

As far as construction, it is prohibited in city limits before 7 a.m.

Button said he has instructed Umpqua Roofing Co, of Eugene, to follow city ordinances.

"Workers might be on site preparing to start work, but construction shouldn't be going on before 7 a.m.," Button said.

By the end of the summer, Hoover will have a new roof, upgraded air-conditioning and heating systems, asbestos removal and new flooring as a part of a $189 million bond measure voters approved in November.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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