A Walk on the Wildside
A boardwalk is being built at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Gresham with help from students at the Northwest College of Construction, Portland Youth Builders and Constructing Hope. (Courtesy of David Scharfenberg)
When it comes to providing entry-level training for people looking to step into careers in the construction trades, Monte Boyer knows there’s no substitute for real-world experience.
That’s why Boyer, the manager of craft instruction at the Northwest College of Construction, has made it a habit to try to find projects for the school’s students that provide hands-on experience while giving back to the community.
The most recent of those efforts is under way at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Gresham, where the construction college’s students are building a boardwalk and trail system so that students from the grade school and people from the community can easily access a 10-acre site called Wildside.
Since 2007, Pleasant Valley science teacher David Scharfenberg has been working with his sixth-grade students to turn the field from a tangle of blackberry brambles and weeds into a place that is equal parts outdoor laboratory and forest restoration project.
At least twice a week, students leave t