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Lynchwood Christian Church to host community meeting on topic on Wednesday, August 15.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Two people walk along Southeast 174th Avenue on Sunday, August 12.A local church is ringing the alarm bell about potentially unsafe sidewalks in East Multnomah County.

Pastor Andrew Guthrie watches hundreds of schoolchildren walk along Southeast 174th Avenue from his church in the Centennial neighborhood.

But as the kids pick their way along the gravel paths and ditches that line both sides of the two-lane street, they also share the road with rumbling traffic traveling between U.S. Route 26 and Interstate 84.

"You see big, huge trucks hauling loads of dirt and rocks just screaming down the road," Guthrie said.

Guthrie says about half of the 500 children enrolled in Powell Butte Elementary walk to school, and Meadows Elementary is located nearby as well. He's organized a meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 15, at Lynchwood Christian Church for members of the public to meet and discuss the issue with the Portland Bureau of Transportation and organizers from the Rosewood Initiative.

Guthrie, who's served at Lynchwood for about four years, says working in a "no man's land" located between jurisdictions has compounded the problem. Lynchwood is in Portland, but the church across the street is in Gresham.

"There seems to be disproportionately less funding than in other parts of the city," he noted. "It's only going to get worse as they develop down in the Happy Valley, Sunnyside area."

He wants the government to build more sidewalks, which appear only intermittently alongside new development, and ensure that the thoroughfare has enough pedestrian crossings.

The corner of Southeast Powell Boulevard and 174th Avenue has been identified as one of the top 10 most dangerous intersections in the state by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

About 18,866 vehicles travel that stretch daily. ODOT has recorded 67 crashes in that area — with 36 of the 67 leading to injuries — in the past three years.

"The longer-term concern is the amount of traffic and the lack of safety features," Guthrie said. "We know there's money in the city for doing projects like this."

IF YOU GO

What: Neighborhood Meeting

When: 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15

Where: Lynchwood Christian Church, 3815 S.E. 174th Ave.

Call: 503-665-9534

TRIBUNE PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Two children walk along Southeast 174th Avenue on Sunday, Aug. 12.

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