School-Based Outreach Program
Engaging Our Youngest Citizens
As an extension of Multnomah County’s community outreach activities, the Sellwood Bridge Project is engaging our future leaders through the School-Based Outreach Program. This program brings the bridge project alive in local elementary, middle, and high school classrooms through interactive educational programs that are tailored to the grade level of each student and the curricular goals of their teachers.
"Our goal is to turn this once in a lifetime construction project into an exciting learning opportunity for students in our area," said County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, whose district includes the Sellwood Bridge. Project professionals representing Multnomah County, TY Lin International, Slayden Construction, Sundt Construction, CH2M Hill, David Evans Associates and Lois D. Cohen Associates, participate in this program.
The School Program creates opportunities for students to get to know project professionals, to learn about their roles and responsibilities, and to explore careers related to construction, engineering, design, and public service. Students in the program learn about the importance of building and maintaining a sound bridge that will enhance our environment and our transportation network.
The School-based Outreach Program is designed to:
- Increase awareness of the Sellwood Bridge Project among students, their teachers, and families;
- Build understanding of the complexity of the project and its technical elements;
- Expose students to a variety of project-related careers and associated educational paths;
- Generate opportunities for students to create bridge-related class projects, some of which will become permanent fixtures on the bridge (benches and wildlife habitat structures, for example);
- Provide real life civics lessons by creating opportunities for student engagement with public officials.
Participating schools include:
Over 600 students from the following schools have participated in the School-Based Outreach Program:
- Alder Elementary
- ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) Academy
- Benson Polytechnic High School
- Capitol Hill Elementary
- Centennial High School
- Cesar Chavez Elementary
- Faubion Elementary
- Glencoe Elementary
- Highland Elementary
- Llewellyn Elementary
- Portland Youth Builders
- Sellwood Middle School
Creating a Sense of Ownership
The School-Based Outreach Program has created a sense of connection to the Sellwood Bridge Project among many of the students with whom we have worked. Students have expressed excitement about the new bridge and are looking forward to the completion of the project and using the new structure, with its wide pedestrian and bike-paths. Furthermore, the program has engaged our young citizens in one of the largest public infrastructure investments taking place in our region. Encouraging students to learn about public projects in their communities has been an exceptional way to expand their understanding of public processes, teach them about a diversity of career paths, and stimulate civic engagement.