Vernonia stakes future on new school

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

 

1011_Vernonia_10
1011_Vernonia_12
Blue Heron apartment residents were evacuated; Washington Grade School is in the background. School supplies and books were destroyed.
Photos: top by Jamie Jones, bottom by Scott Laird/Vernonia's Voice










The Roseburg-based Ford Family Foundation, which was founded by the Ford timber family, broke from its normal funding rules to signal its strong support for Vernonia and made a $1 million challenge grant. The town’s leadership had participated in the training program at the Ford Institute for Community Building and as the disaster was unfolding, those alums were rallying to pull the town together, says foundation president Norman Smith.

“We don’t build schools,” says Smith. “This case was entirely the exception. This is about building a new community around its intrinsic assets.”

And, as Hyde points out, those assets include the 1 million acres of private timber land in Columbia County, where in 2010, 123 million board feet of timber were harvested. “You can’t ignore that,” he says. “You can’t say timber is no longer an economic issue.”

In 2009, there was a national promise to build a green economy, and the color of money was green. There were opportunities for state and federal funding for projects that involved sustainable energy and other ideas and the Vernonia team pounced on them, tying the ideas in with the school, such as a biomass boiler that would be fed by local wood products and a focus on a natural resources curriculum. The Pinchot Institute, a national conservation group, got involved, helping develop biomass ideas and a pilot program linking the health of residents and forests. (See page 38.) The vision would further build on Vernonia’s historic and cultural connections to its forests.

Reconnecting Vernonia’s economy to its natural resources “was an idea waiting to happen, but it needed a place and a time,” says Hyde.

The place and time arrived with the destruction of its schools.



 

More Articles

The Good Hacker

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS

As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.


Read more...

Shades of Gray

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Are we too quick to diagnose corruption?


Read more...

Short Shrift:The threat of just-in-time scheduling

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Companies can benefit when they use software to meet staffing requirements and address employees' family and life commitments.


Read more...

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


Read more...

Banking Perspective

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Craig Wanichek, president and CEO of Summit Bank.


Read more...

Energy Stream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Oregon already ranks as the nation’s second largest generator of hydroelectric power. (Washington is No. 1). Now an elegant new installation in Portland is putting an unconventional, sharing economy twist on this age-old water-energy pairing. The new system, launched this winter, uses the flow of water inside city water pipes to spin four turbines that produce electricity for Portland General Electric customers. 


Read more...

Celestial Eats

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER AND EILEEN GARVIN

A power lunch at Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar.


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