Lents-based ‘Metal Beavers’ again compete in FIRST Robotics games

See how our outer East Portland youth robotics team did at the regional games this year …

It was on this playing field inside an Oregon City school – quite a trip from outer East Portland – that members of the Lents-based Metal Beavers FRC robotics team scored points during the Regional Competition.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a tough season for the scrappy FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team in outer East Portland this year.

Members of FRC Team 1432, the Metal Beavers said they’d found themselves mired in impediments during their “build season”, which starts in December and culminates in the March competitions.

We caught up with the Metal Beavers at the FIRST Robotics Regional Competition on March 4 down in Oregon City, inside Clackamas Academy of Industrial Sciences.

2023 theme: Sustainable, modern energy

Observing the games is Mara Kealey, the FIRST-Washington organization’s Volunteer Success and Engagement Manager.

“Today’s competition is for teams in the Pacific Northwest Region, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and a team from Alaska,” explained FIRST-Washington Volunteer Success and Engagement Manager Mara Kealey.

“We’re calling this our ‘Energizer Season’; and ‘Charged Up!’  is the name of this year’s game,” Kealey informed. “This year’s ‘issue’ is renewable energy: How we can use it safely, and how we can make sure that everyone has access to energy in an equitable way.”

Metal Beavers create a ‘more interesting’ robot

Metal Beavers team members Toby Greene and Elijah Smith work on their robot in the pit area.

“This year, we didn’t have a lot of time to build, because we were waiting on the parts to arrive for most of the season,” said Metal Beavers spokesperson Toby Greene.

Team 1432 is one of the original FIRST Teams in Portland – formerly based at Franklin High School, until it was kicked out in 2010 for no given reason. 13 years later it struggles with resources, Greene pointed out. “We do this with very little funding. For example, almost all the parts we use were recycled from previous years’ robots, and that really doesn’t bode well for a good working robot.”

By noon on March 4, the Metal Beavers team members learned that they would not be competing in the finals that day. “Even though we didn’t go very far in the competition, we will try to go further the next one,” Greene wistfully commented. “Our design is more complex – and interesting – than any other robot here; and we definitely conquered bigger challenges than did many of the other teams.”

Standing by their robot are some of the Metal Beavers team members:Toby Greene, Elijah Smith, Jonathan Hagen, and DeClin Marks.

The Metal Beavers scored 15-13-0 in official play in 2023, and ranked 77, having earned 45 points.

The team’s 2023 Sponsors were Knights of Pythias Ivanhoe Lodge No. 1, S.E. Portland Rotary, The Boeing Company, Sunnyside Grange, Portland Children’s Levy, and Explorer Post 89. Learn more about the Metal Beavers at their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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