Bike GiveawayBy Milwaukie Police Department
This project started when Officer Billy Wells came up with an idea to use unclaimed lost children’s bike accumulating in MPD property store. The police department must hold the abandoned property for a designated period of time. The police property room was overflowing with unclaimed bicycles. With no known owners the bikes would eventually be discarded and Officer Wells suggested that they be given to children, attending Milwaukie schools, in time for the summer vacation.
The Bike Commuter, a Sellwood neighborhood bike shop, generously volunteered to refurbish some of the unclaimed bikes, making sure all the tires, brakes, and steering were in working order. In 2011 Milwaukie Police Chief Bob Jordan asked the principal of Seth Lewelling Elementary School to help find children that didn’t have, but wanted a bicycle. The Milwaukie Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) also helped with this new project. In the first year eight children were selected, and able to choose from a selection of twenty bikes.
In 2012 it was decided to expand the project to other Milwaukie Elementary Schools and the Middle School, and PSAC decided to no longer be part of the project. As the number of unclaimed bikes was well down on the previous year, we decided to augment the number we had by buying new bikes. Walmart kindly allowed us to buy new bikes at cost price, enabling us to give each school 5 bikes each year through 2020.
In 2015 we decided the cost of repairing and refurbishing used bikes plus the extra work to do so made it advantageous to buy all new bikes. MPSF raises funds to enable the Milwaukie Police Department to continue to give 5 bikes each to Ardenwald, Linwood, Milwaukie and Seth Lewelling Elementary schools, plus Rowe Middle school.
Each year we held a fund raising spaghetti dinner to raise money to buy the bikes, partnered by Post #180 of The American Legion who donated the use of their premises for the event. In 2017 The Legion decided to no longer allow use of their premises free of charge, and we were fortunate to obtain a grant from The Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation, who have generously supported us each year since. We have also received the generous support of the Opus Agency LLC, which has enabled us to reach our 10th year of the program. 2020 saw a world wide pandemic, and Oregon schools closed down early in the year. But Officer Wells still managed to get a total of 10 bikes to two of the schools.