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MILTON-FREEWATER — Sidewalks near Milton-Freewater schools will be improved thanks to a $249,599 matching grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Program.

However, for the district and city to receive the money, they must survey parents of kindergarten through third-grade students on how their kids get to school. The deadline is June 12. The survey can be found by clicking here.

The five-minute survey will help identify how students get to school, how people would like to get to school, and what barriers exist for those who walk, bike or ride the bus, according to the state Department of Transportation website.

Milton-Freewater Public Works technician Steven Patten said the city will match the grant, selected for funding in January, with $92,276.49, for a total of $341,875.49. The city’s part already has been used on upgrades, he said.

“The project includes the installation two rectangular rapid flash beacons at the intersection of Highway 11 and 10th Avenue, the construction of curb ramps, sidewalk improvements, installation of necessary signage and installation of electrical conduit for power supply to RRFBs (rapid flash beacons),” Patten wrote in an email. “The project also includes construction of a sidewalk along the north side of Southwest 12th Avenue and installation of a four-way stop at the intersection of Southeast Ninth Avenue and South Mill Street.”

However, the city already has completed the last two items, he wrote.

Patten said details are being finalized between the city, school district and ODOT, which will start the survey and design process. He added he didn’t know when construction would begin, but was hoping this summer, before school started.

Safe Routes to School includes infrastructure and non-infrastructure grants and technical assistance, according to its website.

People with questions can contact Aaron Duff at the MFSD at 541-938-3551, ext. 7483 or

Emily Thornton can be reached at or 526-8325.

Emily Thornton can be reached at or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.

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