STEAM LEARNING THROUGH BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
Multnomah County’s Sellwood Bridge Project
Concerned with the safety of Portland’s Sellwood Bridge, Multnomah County embarked on an ambitious and complex project to replace the bridge. The new bridge structure will be able to withstand potential major earthquakes, support heavy traffic, and has improved safety for pedestrians, bikers, and motorists. Work disrupted an important commuting route.
Treating youth as key stakeholders, LCA worked with over 2,000 students at 12 schools throughout the County, and their parents. By creating and leading interactive hands-on activities, LCA offered meaningful educational opportunities related to the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) fields that bridge replacement involves. Students learned about the range of careers associated with this project, and worked side-by-side with over 70 team members who volunteered their time to work with students in the classroom and at the project site.
By participating in project-related public events and making presentations at County Commission meetings, students had opportunities to interact with public officials and learn about civic engagement. Some students even created permanent fixtures for the bridge, including bat habitat boxes and four benches. LCA’s school program generated over a dozen instances of positive media coverage for the County and helped build a sense of community ownership of the project.
- School-Based Outreach
I greatly appreciate the concern Lois and her staff has shown about strategic distribution of publicly funded resources, and I am impressed by the threads of civic responsibility and respect for public institutions that weave through all their programs. Children from all corners of the County have gained practical skills in civics and citizenship, have discovered the complex trade-offs involved in public processes, and have learned about the broad range of careers involved in the Project.Deborah Kafoury