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Applied Learning Projects

  • Applied learning projects introduce local school groups to public service and the work of the City. We pair groups of students with a City mentor to work together to solve an issue for the community, all while providing real-life experience.


    • Hands-on involvement and real-world problems for youth to solve
    • Collaboration between City staff and schools to provide meaningful learning experiences
    • Student-developed recommendations for solutions or products that address City and community needs

    Project examples

    The possibilities are wide open. What would you like to work on? Here are some examples:

    • Preventing or deterring graffiti on signs
    • Identifying areas with higher than usual waste (unscooped dog waste, cigarette butts, etc.) and developing recommendations to reduce or eliminate the issue
    • Developing a video for City communication and outreach efforts needs
    • Conducting energy or waste audits and making sustainable recommendations for how schools or businesses could make improvements
    • Documenting tree presence and absence with tree surveys in areas of the city with three-foot planting strips
    • Identifying areas that attract illegal dumping and come up with strategies to help property owners and businesses discourage this behavior
    • Working on Safe Routes to Schools projects to help improve active transportation (walking and biking) places and awareness in Gresham
    • Starting neighborhood litter clean up hubs with volunteers 
    • Creating an art project or mural to add to Gresham’s sense of place/community

    Learn more about our projects

    • Pathways Partner Projects Photo 1
    • Pathways Partner Projects Photo 2
    • Pathways Partner Projects Photo 3
    • Pathways Partner Projects Photo 4
    • Pathways Partner Projects Photo 5

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    • The City and digital media students at the Center for Advanced Learning (CAL) teamed up in 2013-14 to spotlight City services with this video, focusing on pedestrian safety and use of Rapid Rectangular Flash Beacons.

    • A student in the Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing Program at CAL helped pilot an approach for digital and physical representation of buildings in Gresham. He took hard copy building plans and digitized them into a computer aided design (CAD) system, then explored digital models using SketchUp and Google Earth. Then …

    • He produced physical models with 3D printing software, including the Carnegie Library on Main Street, and presented his work to the Gresham Historical Society.

    • The City is a leader in producing more power than it consumes at its wastewater treatment plant, and is partnering with Portland State University engineering students to study the possibilities and design for a micro-hydro system to harness the flow of water from large water users to produce power.

    • In spring 2017, students explored the creative process for developing public sculpture in the city. Staff in Urban Renewal partnered with YBA architecture to work with seniors in CAL’s Digital Design media class. Students created presentations for conceptual designs for public sculpture, and explored functional design criteria for size, scope, and locations for art in public spaces.

    • Rosemary Anderson High School students assessed conditions in the areas around their homes/apartments and school (safety, walkability, trees), then compared conditions to a different neighborhood. A class project like this can help the City improve safety or livability, for example adding street trees and identifying pedestrian crossings.