PORTLAND, Ore. Portland public schools open its doors to students on September 4, and construction crews are racing against time to finish projects designed to keep kids safe in the event of an earthquake.

Seismic retrofitting and roofing work at five schools in the district has been under way during the 72-day summer break. It is the first of more than 60 projects to be paid for by a $482 million dollar bond approved by voters last November, the largest bond of its kind ever in Oregon.

Alameda Elementary School is the biggest project wrapping up this summer. The Northeast Portland school is getting a new roof and stronger walls attached to it, designed to withstand a mega-magnitude 9 earthquake.

At Alameda, contractors aren t ready to clean up yet, but they will be in time for the first day of school, according to Randy Miller, the PPS Director of Project Management.

The crews know what s at stake. They ve put in Herculean efforts to try to get this done. They ve worked extra hours and what you see here will not look anything like this on the first day of school, said Miller.

Parents and children have been watching the work going on during the summer.

I don t know I m pretty nervous about it. But they ve been working Saturdays and late nights, so I think they ll get it done, said Marla Hostetter Kropf, whose son Zeke will be a 2nd grader at Alameda this year.

Several other schools have also received retrofitting and roof work this summer, including Wilson, Laurelhurst and Bridlemile.

Bond money will be spent on projects planned over the next eight years.

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