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Pioneer Waterproofing and its employees continue an annual tradition by building, donating 240 bicycles to a local toy drive

PMG PHOTO: STEPHANIE BASALYGA - Mike Crawford, right, the owner and president of Tigard-based Pioneer Waterproofing, and his son Thomas, 15, stand with some of the 240 bicycles the company donated this year to KGW's Great Toy Drive. In 20 years of holiday giving, the company has donated more than 5,000 bicycles to the local toy drive.

Some things just get better over time. Case in point: an annual December effort at Pioneer Waterproofing to provide bicycles for a local toy drive.

Even after 20 years, the bike build effort continues to draw a large turnout of company employees and their families — even though the work usually commences early on a Saturday morning.

In the earliest days of Pioneer Waterproofing, the company's employees assembled food boxes for needy families. But company owner Mike Crawford wanted to do more. In 1998, he contacted some colleagues in the construction industry for donations. With the $13,000 he received, he purchased about 100 unassembled bicycles. He asked his employees if anyone wanted to volunteer time on a Saturday morning to build the bikes, which were donated to KGW's Great Toy Drive. The turnout convinced Crawford to repeat the effort, and a company tradition was born.

The most recent build, held Dec. 14, brought the company's grand total of holiday bikes donated to more than 5,000, Crawford said.

These days, Pioneer Waterproofing pays the money and works with Fred Meyer to purchase a range of bicycles, from pedal-less gliders for tots to stunt-style bikes for older kids. When Crawford contacted the retailer this year, he was told they would be able to provide about 200 unassembled bicycles.

"But then they called and told me they could provide 240," Crawford said.

This year, employees, their kids, and their spouses and significant others put together the bicycles in record time. Crawford's 15-year-old son, Thomas, was part of the crew and kept tally as the completed bicycles were rolled from the assembly area to storage areas in the warehouse space of the company's building on 72nd Avenue in Tigard.

"It's pretty fun," Thomas Crawford said as he surveyed the spread of bicycles ready to be loaded up in trucks on Wednesday, Dec. 18, and delivered to the studios of KGW to be added to the haul for the local television station's annual Great Toy Drive. "I really look forward to it."

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