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Abandoned bicycles repurposed for area kids

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Six kids in the area are to receive unclaimed or abandoned bicycles that were fixed up, courtesy of the Walla Walla Area Crime Watch Bike Project and Bicycle Barn with helmets from Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Coalition.

Since 2015, the Walla Walla Area Crime Watch Bike Project has repurposed 174 abandoned and unclaimed bicycles to give to needy children.

Four families and six children will receive bikes from the Walla Walla Police Department property room where they've been stored.

"These bikes were picked up as abandoned and it has gone way beyond their storage time at the WWPD," said WWPD Crime Prevention Coordinator Vicki Ruley in a release.

Abandoned bikes were sent to online police site propertyroom.com for auction or destroyed. Alternatively, nonprofits can mail a request to the chief of police asking that property bikes be given to their organizations for the use of children.

A letter WWACW sent to WWPD Chief Scott Bieber appealed for bikes for needy kids, Vicki said, and resulted in the newest giveaway.

Jim Barrow serves as WWACW president and Al Dunn as a WWACW Bike Project volunteer. Al has overseen the 174 bikes given to needy kids and adults in the community. In the beginning of the bike project, Al coordinated with the Washington State Penitentiary Sustainable Practices Lab to have inmates work on the bikes.

Recently WWACW chose four families to benefit. "Each child was able to choose their bike, except the last bike, which was perfect for the last child on the list," Vicki said.

Crime Watch paid for the bikes to have thorn-proof tubes and a bike license. Bicycle Barn is providing a discount on parts and free labor, including a safety check of each bike.

Walla Walla County Injury Prevention Coordinator Ruben Hernandez with the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Coalition is providing helmets to the kids and bike safety information.

A police officer, Al, Vicki and Ruben will be on hand to hand off the bikes this week at  Bicycle Barn.

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at 509-526-8313 or

annieeveland@wwub.com.

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,