Today was Community Care Day at Wilson High School. When I stopped by the school this morning, every corner of the campus was humming. There must have been more than a hundred volunteers working hard to make the campus beautiful for students returning for their first day of school September 5th. The workers included Wilson students, siblings, parents, former parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, neighbors, volunteers from the Greater Portland Bible Church and the Portland Christian Center, as well as people there simply to help out. And good thing, because weeds, tall grass, clambering vines, and overgrown shrubs were everywhere.
This effort seemed very well-planned and well-coordinated. Here, Pastor Forrest (yikes – I can’t remember which of the churches he is from!) helps organize a group of volunteers. The main driveway needed edging.So did the sidewalks along SW Vermont Street.These girls were headed to their next assignment,when their friend decided to join them.This volunteer’s rake was bigger than she was.Shoveling mulch was heavy work.This girl was completely focused on her task, getting the mulch all evened out and looking just right.This little tree looked happy.Some used leaf blowers,and I saw one power trimmer,and this power edger,but most of the work was done with non-power tools.Digging dandelions out of the dry soil was a challenge.Some tools were unattended, just there for anyone to use it seemed. I wonder if they all found their way home at the end of the day.So, what to do with all the clippings and trimmings?Large drop boxes were on hand.A van with a wagon collected some of the debris.And Pastor Forrest collected debris in his truck.A fresh drop box arrived.In addition to Community Care Day, there were other events going on at Wilson High School. The pool was open to the public, and there were football practices.Also, the Police Activities League‘s Jamboree was here today.It was warm, and this family needed a drink of water.Liam Carmody, a Wilson senior, took a few minutes to talk with me about the student-run garden.He said that Wilson’s new Principal – Mr. Chatard – was working on the campus grounds today. Liam also said that some friends were taking a break and playing a game of kubb, which I had never heard of. According to Wikipedia kubb originated in Gotland, Sweden, and is a cross between bowling and horseshoes.A big grill was prepared to cook lunch for some deserving volunteers.It was inspiring to see so many joyful people give their Saturday morning to beautify the Wilson High School campus. Today groups like this one worked at Robert Gray and at 50 schools throughout the City of Portland. Several people told me that the Portland Public School District has only two employees to work on school grounds, so clearly this Community Care Day is serving a real need. It is also a great way for neighbors to get together. Rychen is a neighbor who regularly maintains the school’s sidewalk along Vermont, and Linda is a former Wilson parent whose child is now in graduate school. A lot of work can also be a lot of fun.This door that faces Vermont Street is crowned with a small sign that seemed appropriate.Ask and you shall receive. I guess this sign worked for getting the school grounds in shape! Maybe it will work for the school bond measure in November, too.
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The School District is proposing a construction bond measure that would replace leaking roofs, renovate Franklin, Grant, and Roosevelt, replace Faubion, plan upgrades for all Portland Public high schools, reinforce schools against earthquakes, repay loans that paid for nine roof replacements and 47 boiler conversions, increase accessibility, and upgrade science classrooms in all the middle schools, costing the owner of a $150,000 house $165/year for eight years. I will be voting yes!