Use your skills to improve the world around you

My new Portland neighborhood is a great place for walking. There are side trails and staircases between houses, all leading to a giant field around the local school where people walk their dogs, run on the track, etc. But Portland is also a wet place much of the year, and we rely on homemade bridges and walkways to get through the muddy spots.

So recently me and my neighbor (Chuck, musician and Christmas-light king) teamed up to replace a rotting section of walkway. It took about $50 of pressure-treated wood and deck screws to make a new section, and the moment it went down, joggers and school kids were using it.

Chuck also stapled down some asphalt shingles on nearby wood bridges, which get mossy and super slick in the winter. The gritty shingles are a cheap and effective fix.

Bottom line, it feels good to put some sweat equity into the place you live. Word went around that the new guy in the neighborhood is already fixing things up, so my street rep is solid!

Chuck and I spent about $25 each for some pressure-treated 4x4s and 2x4s and a box of deck screws. Then I measured for the length and width, chopped up the pieces, and started drilling and screwing the crosspieces. A thin piece of wood gave me even spacing as I went.
Chuck helped with the installation. We dug out the old rotted section and dropped in the new one. Moments later we also put a stone under that little bridge in the foreground, to level it. Build your world!

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