City-wide ‘Safe Routes to School’ programs celebrated in Parkrose

Discover where folks interested in adopting a healthier lifestyle were congregating, to learn more about pedestrian and bike transportation options …

Kids learn the “rules of the road” on this Bicycle Skills Course – set up in Russell Academy of Academic Achievement’s playground.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Families from all over the greater Portland area were invited to the “Safe Routes to School Spring Kickoff” on April 7 at Parkrose Schools’ Russell Academy of Academic Achievement.

“This is a chance to welcome the spring, and have families get excited about walking and biking to school,” commented City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Safe Routes to School Encouragement Organizer Carolina Iraheta.

Volunteer ambassador Harley Horton and City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Safe Routes to School Encouragement Organizer Carolina Iraheta proudly show off some of the posters made by kids attending the event.

“It’s great to see families here from all over the city,” Iraheta said. “Plus, we have had a lot of families from the Parkrose neighborhood come, in particular.”

There were a whole bunch of different activities, she said, so kids can get ready to walk and bike to school.

Sonia Connolly, a body worker at Sundown Healing Arts on this day was an “options ambassador”, helping to fit bike helmets at the “Trauma Nurses Talk Tough” station.

Iraheta pointed out that opportunities for both “learning” and “doing” abounded – at stations set up in the school’s gym, and outside the school.

“There’s a helmet-fitting by volunteers with ‘Trauma Nurses Talk Tough’, to make sure kids have properly-fitted helmets.  We have a ‘Bike 101’ class, teaching students how to do basic bicycle maintenance – like fixing a flat tire. And, a bike mechanic is providing a safety check.”

Volunteer ambassador Harley Horton, we learned, was teaching “map skills” – helping kids learn how to navigate safely through neighborhood streets by reading maps.

Brandon Fite, from The Outer Rim Bicycles shop, here checks out a bike for Ellie Nakayama, an Atkinson Elementary 4th grader from the Tabor South Neighborhood. She attended with her dad, Tim Nakayama.

“At noon, as we go to lunch, we’re demonstrating a ‘Walking School Bus’, in which families walk their children to school, all together,” Iraheta added.

It looked as if the event was both fun and educational. To learn more, see the Safe Routes to School website: CLICK HERE.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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