Sellwood residents plan gets crosswalks — and bio-swales, too

by: David F. Ashton Volunteer project leader Bradley Heintz, a Sellwood resident and a teacher, admires a completed crosswalk – and bio-swale – along S.E. 17th Avenue at S.E. Lambert Street.

To Bradley Heintz, it didn't make sense for kids and families to dodge fast-moving traffic as they made their way between Westmoreland Park and Sellwood Park. So, he created a project he named the 'Park to Park Walkway'.

Because S.E. Lambert Street in Sellwood functions as the main pedestrian and bicycle corridor going between the parks, Heintz told THE BEE that it just made sense to add a couple of crosswalks.

But, it wasn't as easy as asking the City to paint white stripes at the intersections.

Heintz explained, 'About a year and a half ago, I saw an 'East Side Community Benefit Opportunity (CBO) grant program' notice in my water bill. When I enquired, I learned that they were funding neighborhood improvement projects. I asked them about installing crosswalks. I was hoping that they would say no - and I'd just let the idea go - but instead, they said 'maybe'.'

Administrators of that program put Heintz in touch with the Portland '1% for Green Street Program'. 'A helpful guy with the City, Peter Mason, inspected the area. We learned that also asking that bio-swales be installed was essential.'

Over several months, Heintz wrote grants under both programs. 'We worked back and forth on refining the grant until we got the applications just right. These people are great; they totally worked with me.'

He was both a little surprised and pleased to learn that the Green Streets grant program allotted $95,000 for his project, and CBO chipped in anther $36,000 last July. 'From then, it went into the planning and permitting stages.'

This February, work began on installing the bio-swales at the designated intersections of Lambert and 17th and Milwaukie; by early April, the crosswalk painting and signs were in place.

But he project isn't fully completed, Heintz said. 'There are a couple more crosswalks needed, especially on S.E. 22nd Avenue at Westmoreland Park. I'm looking for a volunteer to help with the grant-writing process for those.'

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