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New handheld crossing flags installed for pedestrians at five intersections or crosswalks

COURTESY PHOTO - New handheld crossing flags were installed at crosswalks and intersections surrounding River Grove Elementary. It's simple: Pedestrians want to be seen when crossing the street.

That's why the River Grove Elementary Student Advisory Council (SAC) and the Rosewood Neighborhood Association Board joined forces to implement the River Grove Crosswalk Flags Project.

Now, at five separate crosswalks or intersections — two crossing SW McEwan Road in front of the school, two crossing Pilkington Road and a fifth crossing SW Childs Road — people will see handheld crossing flags to aid with pedestrian visibility around the school's property.

Leigh Campbell, Rosewood NA Board member and SAC member, said she met with a couple of other moms about two years ago to discuss safer crossings and discovered it was complicated to apply for a safe routes to school grant in the River Grove area due to the different municipalities governing the area.

Campbell said it wasn't until one of the mothers went to Washington and noticed the handheld crossing flags being used that the idea to implement them in River Grove would come to fruition.

It took about a year to put the flags and their holders in place.

"It costs a lot of money and we didn't have the budget," said Campbell, adding that the NA doesn't require dues so they had to find funds elsewhere because the project — including extra flags — cost about $500.

The NA was looking at creating a GoFundMe page but the SAC decided it would be a reasonable project for the school to pay for.

Home Depot also gave the group a discount for supplies and Cub Scouts Pack 203 helped make the flag holders.

"It's a visibility aid," Campbell said. "These are not magic flags. These flags do not stop cars."

Each flag holder has directions indicating that people are to take a flag, wave down the car until it stops and deposit the flag once they get to the other side of the street.

Campbell added that she walks her third grade son to school and pushes her daughter in a stroller and — because Oregon tends to be a bit wet sometimes — she also holds an umbrella. And she said cars don't stop.

Now that the flags are in place, Campbell thinks it has been helping with safety.

While the flags are not made of reflective material, Campbell thinks the bright orange coloring and the size of the flags will help at night or early in the morning.

There are other intersections in the neighborhood where Campbell thinks it would be beneficial to add handheld flags, but she said the school was a good starting point.

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