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Deer Creek students design winning posters

Posters' purpose is to make sure people don't hit underground cables and pipes when excavating

SUBMITTED BY DEER CREEK ELEMENTARY - Deer Creek 811 poster contest winners include (from left) fifth-grader Molly with first place, fourth-grader Anya with third place, third-grader Sierra with first place, fifth-grader Jordyn with second place, and fifth-grader Jenniffer with third place.
Students at three Tigard-Tualatin elementary schools participated in an unusual poster contest in April, learning about the importance of Oregon’s excavation laws.

Students at Deer Creek, Alberta Rider and Mary Woodward elementary schools participated in the contest, which asked students to design posters supporting Oregon 811, a campaign to get people to call that number before digging in their backyards to avoid damaging pipes and other underground utilities.

Tigard resident Kitty Davis is the spokeswoman for Oregon 811, and the poster project was her idea.

The Oregon Utility Notification Center is the state agency that oversees excavation laws. Davis said that teaching children the importance of underground utility services, the dangers of unsafe digging practices and the need to call 811 prior to any digging activity in Oregon is very important.

“We’re looking at this to get kids more involved,” Davis said. “If their parents are digging a fence line, we want the kids to say, ‘Mom, did you call 811?’”

Davis said that dialing 811 is not thought of in the same way as calling 911, the emergency response line, but she is hoping to change that.

It’s like teaching kids the smell of gas,” Davis said. “We’re trying to get the number up in kids’ minds right alongside firemen and policemen.”

Davis was inspired to start the poster contest after seeing a national poster contest for the agency.

“I got in touch with three schools and asked to see what the kids would do,” she said.

Students in third, fourth and fifth grades were asked to watch a short video at digsafelyoregon.com and then come up with a poster idea.

“I am beyond thrilled with what they captured,” David said.

Nine winners were chosen, with first-, second- and third-place awards given to students.

“Our kids just won big in a poster contest for OUNC – ‘Calling 811 before you dig,’” said Deer Creek head secretary Marie Shockless. “They received gift cards.”

Deer Creek winners were fifth-grader Molly in first place, fourth-grader Anya in third place, third-grader Sierra in first place, fifth-grader Jordyn in second place, and fifth-grader Jenniffer in third place.