Scouts on path to ease congestion


Increased student population poses traffic snarls

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE -  From left Miles Smith, Rylan Boyles, Asher Nys, Carson Bride, Kellen Boyles, Will Knudsen, pack leader Tom Bride and Jack Bride pose on the path they constructed from Melrose Street to Oak Creek Elementary School. The path alleviates traffic congestion at the school during arrival and dismissal times.  Cub Scouts in Oak Creek’s Pack 469 had an opportunity to uphold the Scout Motto this summer. Lead by pack co-leader Tom Bride, several members of the pack joined together in doing their best on a project that would benefit their school community.

With the closure of Uplands Elementary, Oak Creek’s school population grew from 375 students to 540. Oak Creek students previously had all been able to walk or carpool to school; now many students are bused to the school from the Uplands neighborhood. Early on, principal Karen Lachman could see the increase in students and buses would create a traffic snarl at arrival and dismissal times.

In anticipation of the increased traffic she enlisted the aid of Oak Creek parent Rick Nys, a traffic engineer with Clackamas County.

“We sat down in December to develop a plan of how we could handle the increased traffic,” Lachman said. She said they recognized the front entry could not accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic in a safe and efficient manner. After some consideration Nys suggested an entry on Melrose Street, primarily used by sports teams to access the school field, could be utilized, allowing students to walk across the field and enter the school by the library.

Nys knew that the path through the grass and dirt needed to be refurbished to keep students’ shoes from getting wet and muddy as the weather changed. Who could help? The members of Cub Scout Pack 469 were ready and willing to come to the aid of their school community.

Bride and Nys spent “a couple of weekends” in early August doing the heavy work of preparing the path.

“We trimmed the blackberry bushes back, cut the sod away with the sod cutter, laid down weed cloth and prepped the path for the work the kids could do,” Bride said. “We moved the big stones — tons of stones.”

“It was hard work,” said Kellen Boyles. “We shoveled gravel into a wheelbarrow and then dumped it on the path and smoothed it out.”

“We pushed the bark dust around to level it with rakes,” said Carson Bride. “Now kids use this path daily and it keeps their shoes dry.”

Helping with the project were scouts Jack Bride, who has moved up to the Boy Scout program, and his brother Carson, Miles Smith, a member of the Webelos, brothers Kellen and Rylan Boyles, Will Knudsen and Asher Nys and their families. Smith celebrated his birthday on the day of the work project and treated the group to donuts, which the scouts believe always make the workload lighter.

“The path has been such a gift to our community,” said Lachman. “This makes arrival and dismissal so much more fluid and easy. It’s an example of how one small change can make such a difference. We are grateful for the work the scouts did.”