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  • 29 Jul 2015

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City, school district take swift action on dangerous crossing

Four students hit by cars in two days on 182nd Avenue

Flashing lights will be installed within two months at a crosswalk in front of Centennial High School where students were hit by cars both Wednesday and Thursday this week.

In the interim, Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis said two electronic sign boards — encouraging drivers to slow down when going through the crosswalk — will be placed at the site.

Bemis said the city also is working with the police to have increased presence at the school. Two crossing guards were stationed at the site, 3505 S.E. 182nd Ave., this morning while students made their way to school.

"Thank God they weren't killed," Bemis said. "Drivers have some responsbility too. People have to pay a little bit better attention."

The flashing lights are expected to be installed this summer, Bemis said, but the project will be expedited in light of the incident. He said there have been no pedestrian accidents at that crosswalk since 2003.

At 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, a male student was hit while crossing in the 3500 block of 182nd Avenue on the way to school.

Carol Fenstermacher, the spokeswoman for the Centennial School District, said the male student suffered a broken elbow and a broken knee.

Then, Thursday evening, three freshmen girls were struck by a vehicle in the same crossing shortly before the evening rush hour. The teens were participating after school in a Multnomah County program called Schools Uniting Neighborhoods Service System.

The extent of their injuries is unknown, but the three girls were transported to an area hospital with non life-threatening injuries, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, Gresham Police spokesman.

"It's going to take some time for them to heal," Fenstermacher said.

Centennial staff made announcements to the student body about the incidents this morning, reminding students to look both ways and be alert when crossing the road.

Few other details were released regarding Thursday's incident, except to say the driver, who has not been identified, is cooperating with police. Alcohol and drugs are not suspected as a contributing factor.

"Ensuring the safety of our children is the most important work we do," Bemis said. "We at the City of Gresham are working urgently in partnership with Centennial staff to keep students safe."

The cause of the crash in under investigation.

The Outlook will update this story as details are provided.