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Police patrols will increase when school starts Thursday

COURTESTY PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU - Police say drivers need to watch out for students going to school on Thursday.The Portland Police Bureau and the Portland Bureau of Transportation are teaming up to increase safety when students return to school Thursday.

Portland Public School students are scheduled to go back to school on Thursday, Aug. 27. Police says they will be conducting high visibility patrols around all schools as part of its annual "Back to School" safety campaign then.

According to police, beginning Thursday, many students will be walking and riding their bicycles to school. Congestion in school zones will increase, especially during the busy morning and afternoon drop-off and pickup times.

To reduce accidents, the PPB Youth Services Division, Traffic Division, Central Precinct, North Precinct and East Precinct will be providing a highly visible police presence in and around local schools.

Dozens of officers, including Photo Radar Units, will be enforcing traffic laws in these zones to reduce the number of crashes in school zones and to create a safe environment for students returning to school.

Hours of enhanced patrol will vary but generally will be between 7:45 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. then again from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Police say drivers should be aware of two schools that have relocated to previously closed schools: Franklin High students are temporarily being relocated to Marshall High, located at 3905 SE 91st Ave. Marshall has been closed for several years and drivers may not be recognize this school zone. Portland Police will be providing extra patrols in this area.

In addition, increased traffic is expected on North Flint due to Faubion School's temporary relocation to Harriet Tubman. During school drop off and pick up hours, people who regularly bicycle on North Flint should consider using North Vancouver and Williams.

PPB and PBOT offer these safety tips:

• If you're driving, obey the 20 mph speed limit in school zones.

• Be vigilant and courteous to children crossing the street.

• If you're a parent, consider walking or biking to school with your students where possible to reduce congestion, improve safety and provide young people with needed physical activity.

In addition, PPB and PBOT asked parents to remind their children to:

• Never walk while texting or talking on the phone.

• If texting, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk.

• Never cross the street while using an electronic device.

• Do not walk with headphones on.

• Be aware of the surroundings

Finally, PPB and PBOT says, watch for school buses. Remember if yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.

For more information on the Portland Safe Routes to School program visit www.saferoutesportland.org