Sponsored by Oregon Business

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

Chronicling Gov. Kitzhaber's march to resignation

The Latest
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
021115-kitzhaber-jekaplan14-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Recapping a wild week featuring plenty of will he or won't he resign drama.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


Read more...

100 Best: The Power of the Worker

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
AND AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Technology is empowering people like never before and transforming how employees interact in the workplace. How can companies attract and keep staff engaged in this rapidly changing world?


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

10 Oregon companies positioning themselves for growth

The Latest
Friday, March 13, 2015
vcthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Ten startups have secured venture capital, angel or seed funding in 2015.


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