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Walking or biking to school has its own national day; this year in Portland, it was in Southeast

DAVID F. ASHTON - On a Portland Police Traffic Division motorcycle, Sergeant Ty Engstrom helped Aubreecy Dobson to sit in the saddle, while Grandma Wendy Marringer looked on. The City of Portland's celebration of 'International Walk+Roll to School Day' took place this year in Inner Southeast's Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

It centered on Whitman Elementary School, early Wednesday October 10, in a caravan to school set up by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

"Families, staff and volunteers are actively organizing and encouraging families to walk or roll to school," exclaimed the Bureau's spokesperson, John Brady.

Before participating in the safety exercises and fun activities in the Whitman schoolyard, families were encouraged first to walk or "roll" to school, gathering at several locations in the neighborhood to travel together.

At one of those spots, the Mount Hood Little League Field at S.E. 72nd and Tenino Street, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw were on hand to meet with families, before a scheduled six-block walk north to the school.

THE BEE was waiting for Mayor Wheeler to arrive at the school on S.E. Flavel Street, but he wasn't with the group; a participant told us that after the gathering on the ball field he'd gotten into a car and driven off.

"The Mayor had to leave for City Council, so unfortunately he wasn't able to complete the walk [because the Portland] City Council starts at 9:30 [a.m.], and he needed to be prepped beforehand," the Mayor's Senior Writer & Press Coordinator, Sophia June, told THE BEE. "But he had a great time at the event!"

PBOT staffmembers provided activities at several stations in the school's playground; Police Bureau Chief Outlaw and Traffic Division officers greeted arriving parents and kids.

Then, the first school bell of the day rang – and the students were off to their classrooms for another day of education.

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