Vernonia stakes future on new school

| Print |  Email
Articles - October 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Oregon Solutions team marshaled resources and a coalition of local, state and federal officials. That included heavy-hitting Portland businesses such as The Standard and Northwest Natural and Portland leaders such as Ken Thrasher and Sho Dozono, along with Vernonia officials, citizens and businesspeople.

1011_Vernonia_09
1011_Vernonia_11
After a storm dumped nearly a foot of rain, the Nehalem River crested on the night of Dec. 3, 2007, at a height of 18.59 feet, seven feet above flood stage, swamping Vernonia.
Photos: top by Scott Laird/ Vernonia's Voice. Bottom by Jamie Jones

During the depths of the recession in November 2009, voters of the Vernonia School District increased their property taxes by approving a $13 million school bond, a “down payment” on a new school that was then boosted by $16 million from federal and state sources, including $11 million from FEMA.

Then many others began putting their chips on Vernonia, including $76,000 from several timber companies, $100,000 from Northwest Natural, $1,000 each from the cities of Nehalem and Maupin, gifts from individuals such as Gun Denhart of Hanna Andersson and Anne Kilkenny of the Winks Hardware family, who gave $50,000. About $38,000 has been raised from community fundraisers, and $1.2 million has come from half a dozen foundations. To date, $31 million has been committed to the school rebuilding.

“When we went to see the editorial board of The Oregonian, we were all pretty nervous,” says state Sen. Betsy Johnson, whose district includes Vernonia. “They asked, ‘Who cares about Vernonia?’ and Tom Kelly practically came up out of his chair,” Johnson remembers with relish. The newspaper subsequently wrote several editorials supporting Vernonia.

Kelly, president of the remodeling company Neil Kelly and also co-chair with Johnson of the campaign committee for the school, was worried fundraising would fall flat. “But it has a story that pulls at people’s heartstrings,” he says. “And I’ve been really impressed with how many people in the Portland business community have helped out.”

“If we cross off Vernonia, we might as well shut down 45 other towns across Oregon,” says Justin Delaney, a vice president at The Standard and member of the campaign committee. “There was no way Vernonia could raise this money by themselves.”



 

More Articles

Ski traffic

Linda Baker
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

Downtown flower shop readies for the Valentine's Day rush

The Latest
Monday, February 09, 2015
021015-giffords-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Gifford's Flowers brings family approach to PSU-area shop.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

6 chiefs of staff dish on their bosses

The Latest
Thursday, February 05, 2015
legilistiblog-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

We ask chiefs of staff for the scoop on Oregon legislators.


Read more...

Which Way to Chinatown?

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

The Jade International District, already Portland's center of Asian life, is poised for rejuvenation. Where does that leave the westside's historic Chinatown?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS