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Views on Schools – Rose City Park Deserves Reconsideration
By Terry Parker, Rose City Park resident
Author:Terry Parker
Published:5 May, 2006 - 9:51am
Issue:XXVI No. 3: May, 2006 RCPNA Newsletter and General Meeting Notice
I am concerned about what closing Rose City Park School will do to my neighborhood.

I grew up in the Rose City Park Neighborhood in the house I now live in. It has been in my family longer (52 years) than any other house on the block. I have seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood, both good and bad. I went to Charles A. Rice and Rose City Park grade schools, and attended Madison High School when it had 2,400 students. My classes had 32 to 40 students each throughout my education.

In North Portland at New Columbia, a new neighborhood school projected to serve 500 students is being built. This new building is to replace the ailing Ball School building. I would not disagree with the assessment of Ball School, but it would have cost far less money if the Ball School Community would have been just moved into another existing school building such as Kenton. I think that the reason for the new school was more political posturing than a need for an additional building

Now, the school district wants to close an icon in the community, the Rose City Park School, a school that has over 400 students, and move that community into another building. What I see here is a double standard and possibly discrimination. Closing Rose City Park School in my neighborhood can be likened to what closing City Hall, and consolidating services into the Portland Building would do to downtown Portland. The Rose City Park neighborhood does not have a town center business district. The school is an integral part of neighborhood identity and a major source of neighborhood pride. Within the neighborhood, both Rice and Normandale Schools have been closed. Rose City Park has already had its fair share of school closings. Closing Rose City Park School will possibly create a neighborhood blight, send the neighborhood into decline, create more harm than good and have a negative effect on the quality of life.

Healthy neighborhoods contribute to healthy well performing schools. There is a lack of school pride and a potential for more vandalism when students attend schools outside their own neighborhoods. Gregory Heights School is outside the Rose City Park Neighborhood. It appears to me that the superintendent is setting her own priorities ahead of the well-being of entire neighborhoods with this plan. It will only result in more families leaving the neighborhood, and the City.

It seems that too many of these decisions are being made too fast and take place in secret behind closed doors. Our neighborhood deserves the same “EQUAL OPPORTUNITY” of retaining a neighborhood school, the same opportunity afforded when several million dollars are spent for New Columbia. If ADA requirements must be met to keep the school open, then put in an elevator, placed by removing one of the split stair cases at either end of the building. Our neighborhood school deserves the same investment made at in the Jefferson area where student spending is twice the average compared to other schools in the rest of the City.

There are ways other than closing our school where the district can save money. They deserve a reality check.

Historic Photo of Rose City Park School

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