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dennis

so I am curious if all the "Sam lied" people will be posting here demanding the same thing. The way I see it, public officials lying to get a measure past voter so that they can tear down a building they know voters would never approve seems to go against the nature of doing what's right for the community.


Someone wish to tell the board that it's not 1950 anymore and you can't just tear down any building because you feel like it. Way to destroy history for a neighborhood.

kitty

What a treat. Too bad local journalists don't have the interest or wherewithal to do investigative reporting. This would have been a nice piece and I am sure there are more juicy details (not as exciting as gay underage sex).
Thank God there are people who care deeply enough about the building and their community to work through the system to seek justice.

dennis

just a shame kitty, those same people dont work for the Oregonian, Williamette Weekly, or the Portland Mercury....they are too busy covering "bigger issues."

The greenest school is the one you already OWN!

We support the efforts of Steve Jewell and all families and students in Riverdale who are working to protect this beautiful, historic, architecturally important elementary school.

Here is a letter we sent to Mr. Jewell on 2/10/09 regarding our concerns about retaining land use attorney Steve Janik to represent the Save the Doyle efforts:

Hello Mr. Jewell,

It was interesting to see that you have retained Steve Janik as counsel. I know he is an experienced land use attorney and is very well connected, but I wanted to make sure you are aware that he was one of the founding Board of Directors, and a Secretary and Treasurer, of a group named “Innovation Partnership” (IP) which is part of the Portland Schools Foundation. Mr. Janik signed the Articles of Incorporation for the IP on 6/4/04.

The IP is a private non-profit that has for years been pushing Portland Public Schools to close, sell and/or lease many of its finest school facilities, while sending children to schools in poorer condition in almost every instance. At the same time, PPS has retained dozens of substandard portable trailer classrooms and annexes hastily built during the last baby boom. In fact, with PPS school population now rising in critical early grades, and poorly planned school closures and consolidations, PPS elementary schools are now over-optimized and over-crowded. The PPS board voted at their last meeting to actually buy 30 new portable trailer classrooms for $9.6 million. They are planning to buy five trailers just this year. At present, the population of students in trailers in PPS is the equivalent of 3-4 full elementary schools. Many PPS trailers are old and substandard, and many of the students educated in trailers live in poverty.

The guiding document for PPS facilities planning is currently the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP), which was authored by IP in 2002. The LRFP was created in the panic / funding crisis created by Measure 5. It outlines the strategy to close schools in a way to generate rental, sale and lease income, while not taking into consideration the impact on student performance or future enrollment growth. IP targeted schools for closure which they knew they could rent, sell or lease, instead of the schools that PPS now says need to be torn down due to poor condition.

Here is a quote from the LRFP about the creation of the Portland Schools Real Estate Trust (RET), a part of IP. Notice their list of priorities:

The Portland Schools Real Estate Trust will:
• Generate Annual Net Revenue for Portland Public Schools;
• Create future flexibility in property management for Portland Public Schools; and
• Allow Portland Public Schools to focus its energies on its educational mission, rather than on the technical and community issues related to real estate.

I am glad to supply to you a CD of the LRFP, but it is a 566 page document and too large to email. PPS is currently using it, but will not make the complete document available to the public on their website.

Here are a couple specific examples of IP’s work.
In the attached “IP Hot Sheet”, you can see Mr. Janik’s name listed as founding member. You can also see that as early as 2002, the IP targeted Smith School and Kenton School for development. They are the schools pictured under the words “Portland Schools free up 500,000 square feet of buildings and 60 Acres of land.” Both schools were closed in 2005, though Kenton was rated academically strong and Smith exceptional.

Kenton School

Despite being a historic structure built in 1913, at the time of closure, Kenton School had the most remaining years of life, (40 years) of any elementary school in North Portland.

In fall 2004, right before its closure, Kenton received part of a $5.2 million federal magnet grant. The children from Kenton neighborhood are now bused to Chief Joseph School, which is over-crowded, and which PPS now says needs to be town down due to its poor condition. (See article “District marks 10 for scrap," Oregonian 2/28/08.) This article is now only available through archive but you can see it referenced here: http://www.beverlyclearyschool.org/node/96

PPS is now planning to rebuild Chief Joseph because it is overcrowded, which is further evidence that Kenton never should have been closed. In addition, all the Kenton and Chief Joseph students would have fit at the historic Kenton.

Also, because of school closures which fostered segregation and racial isolation, PPS lost a large part of their federal desegregation grant: Here: http://wweek.com/editorial/3343/9520/ and here: http://wweek.com/wwire/?p=15892
Historic Kenton School is now in a thirty year long-term lease (an ostensible sale) to the Catholic Church as a private school, a deal brokered by the RET of IP, Steve Janik's group.

Smith School
In spite of its exceptional academic rating and being well attended, efficient, and recently seismically upgraded, Smith School was also closed in 2005. Most of the children from Smith School were reassigned to Markham School, which like Chief Joseph School, PPS now says needs to be town down due to its poor condition. (Again, see article “District marks 10 for scrap," 2/28/08) As you may know, Smith School sits empty while the neighborhood children are bused to less efficient schools in poorer condition and IP and RET attempt to peddle our school to the highest bidder.

Lack of Stewardship
In a 2003 PSU dissertation by Brian Scott, one of the founders of IP, Scott implies IP has had a roll in the reduction of maintenance at PPS schools. Scott says, “Although the data for the other districts are not strictly comparable, the average costs serves as a benchmark as to what other districts are spending and the calculated 'gap' serves as a reference point for cost-reduction and cost-recovery efforts. To the extent that Portland Public Schools can reduce operations and maintenance costs towards the state average, then more funds would be available to spend on instruction, the Best Use of Facilities Task Force observed.” {Page 105} “In June 2001, the district approved a budget that eliminated the spending gap in operations and maintenance that had been identified by the Best Use Task Force.” {Page 112}
The resulting egregious lack of facilities maintenance that was encouraged by the work of the IP was documented in the Oregonian here:
http://www.oregonlive.com/special/index.ssf/2008/05/school_maintenance.html

There are many more examples, if you are interested.

IP and RET subscribe the counterintuitive notion that the more people that live in Portland, the less school land we need, and that there will never be another baby boom. With their emphasis on closing quality schools to pack children into schools now “marked for scrap” while sustaining more and more portable trailer classrooms, a person might get the impression that IP, RET and PPS are creating justification for their future capital bond measure at the expense of stewarding quality educational facilities, the promotion of walking and biking to school, and retaining enrollment.

Pardon the lengthy email, but we attempted to keep it short. We have much more historical information about the creation of IP and RET and their actions, and we are willing to share that background material. Again, we don’t know the extent of Mr. Janik’s involvement in the IP’s actions, but we thought you should to know more about the organization.

Very truly yours --

Steve Linder and Lynn Schore
linderschore@comcast.net

ws

Linder and Shore, very interesting information. Thanks for providing it.

Jon

What's important is saving this historic building. The fact that Linder and Shore do not agree with Mr. Janik on the best way to improve our schools, should in no way effect his efforts to save the Doyle. If anything, it at least shows Mr. Janik's care and interest in our schools.

N

Jon,
Isn't Linder and Shore's point that Mr. Janik has been supportive of PPS's efforts to close down some of its most historic and valuable buildings, and therefore may not be the best person to represent parents who want to save Riverdales historic school?

Janik and the Innovation Partnership Up to Old Tricks

Current Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz clearly had major concerns about the Innovation Partnership. Here are some of her prior comments from the Portland Socialist website re an Innovation Partnership report. Fritz entitled the article "Innovation Partnership: Report Kept Secret."

The interesting thing to find out would be, did Steve Janik approach the Save Riverdale group to represent them? Or did the historic preservation group approach Janik?

INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP:
REPORT KEPT SECRET
By Amanda Fritz

Here we go again.... Innovation Partnership published
their assessment and recommendations on regulatory
reform on Friday February 21st, asking Council to
accept and implement it the following Wednesday,
February 26th. Their report was kept secret until the
21st, with even members of their committee being
asked not to share drafts.

Fortunately, the Citywide Land Use forum and
Planning Commission became aware of the proposal,
and Council allowed an additional two weeks for
comment. If anyone on this list is interested in joining
a rapid-response email group working this week to
try to come up with a concerted neighborhood
viewpoint, please email me personally.
The following is a memo I just sent to Council, with
my personal preliminary comments.
Amanda
**************************************
One Neighbor's Response to Innovation Partnership
Report, "Independent Stakeholder Assessment of
Development Review in Portland"
Question: Whom does the Report purport to
represent?
Concern: The Innovation Partnership (IP)
Stakeholder committee was comprised of 15
representatives of the business/development
community, 13 city staff, 3 neighborhood
representatives, and 1 representative from 1000
Friends of Oregon. The Report was not circulated
even among the business community before
presentation to Council.
Conclusion: The Report represents the viewpoint of
one sector of stakeholders. It is not a comprehensive,
balanced analysis of the issues and problems in
Portland's regulatory review process. It is not even
the consensus viewpoint of the business community.
Other viewpoints must be heard and considered
before the Council decides on next steps …

Question : What do stakeholders other than business/
development interests see as the major problems in
development review?
Concern : The fifteen case studies were chosen in a
process heavily dominated by business/development
interests. Neighborhood associations and individual
citizens were not given the opportunity to suggest
case studies illustrating problems experienced by
customers other than applicants.
Conclusion : Council should not proceed with further
work implementing the IP Report recommendations,
before the bias from using skewed data is corrected.
Neighborhood land use volunteers are working to
identify issues, in the two weeks allowed to us under
this flawed process. We will present a preliminary
report next week. I respectfully request your open
consideration of our input.

Preliminary Comments on IP Report
Recommendations:
1. The Report recommends that the City prioritize its
Comprehensive Plan Goals. Mayor Katz has already
indicated that such a process is neither possible nor
desirable. All Comprehensive Plan goals are
important. Balancing the goals is an essential part of
both running the city, and the state-mandated land use
planning process. Prioritizing the Comprehensive
Plan goals would probably be illegal according to
state law, and even if not would require a massive
public involvement project …

The third recommendation illustrates the most
fundamental flaw in the IP Report. With the blending
in Blueprint 2000 of the Bureau of Planning's Current
Planning section with the Bureau of Buildings, we
lost the clear distinction between standards for
building permits, and discretionary decisions made in
land use reviews. Developers are now asking for
permit staff to be allowed to make discretionary
decisions. That is simply illegal. The report gives the
example of "increase the amount of pedestrian
amenities" instead of "windows no smaller than 3' x 4'
". Their proposed "outcome based" regulation is in
fact a discretionary guideline that must be made in a
land use review process such as design review.
Conclusion
The Council should not direct staff to "just do it", as
Commissioner Francesconi suggested at the initial
hearing on accepting the report. There are many, many
problems in the IP assessment and recommendations.
Please listen to neighbors' viewpoints with open
minds, and allow us to help rescue this process in a
proper planning project with full participation by all
customers, not just business interests.

Respectfully submitted,
Amanda Fritz, citizen

Innovation Partnership Board of Directors Incl. Steve Janik

Here's a current cut and paste from the Innovation Partnership board and the Real Estate Trust as of March 12, 2008:

*http://www.innovationpartnership.org/about/board.html*
*Innovation Partnership Board of Directors*
• Homer Williams, Chair,

President, Williams & Dame Development
• Michael Jordan, Secretary, COO, METRO
• Rick Gustafson, Treasurer, Shiels Obletz Johnson
• Richard C. Alexander, Founder, Viking Industries
• Sho Dozono, President, Azumono Travel
• Will Hardy, Sr. Pastor, Highland United Church of Christ
• Pam Treece, Executive Director, Regional Partners
*Real Estate Trust Board of Directors:*
Jacob Johnson, President
Linda Tubbs, Vice President
Steven Janik, Secretary; Treasurer
Jim Eddy
Louis Fontenot
Pat LaCrosse
Dick Levy
For more information contact:
Ryan Mottau
Portland Schools Real Estate Trust
501 N Dixon Street
Portland, Oregon 97227

Ideas for Riverdale

Looking at the bond language, there was nothing that made clear that a wrecking ball would be taken to the historic Doyle. Citizens were told the masonry was bad and needed repointing -- that is not wrecking a building. Because the bond language was so unclear, it might help Riverdale to contact the head of the Tax Supervising & Conservation Commission (TSCC), to see if it has any responsibility to oversee the apparent misrepresentation in the bond language.

Since Riverdale is in Multnomah County, the group should also contact the Multnomah County Elections Office and file a formal complaint. Ask the Elections Office to investigate. Election fraud now goes to Kate Brown.

These two steps would not take a lot of time and could be done by community members.

And I agree: Steve Janik, back away from the school!

Jon

Mr Janik's involvement in this case is trying to save a historic building not to keep a school open or to close one. Given this example however, buildings owned and operated by school districts are in no way safe from demolition. Perhaps they are in more danger. Let's not confuse closing a school with demolishing it. Drinks at Kennedy School anyone?

Steve

I love historic architecture, but I support historic schools in Portland because they are usually most efficient, safe, healthy and equitable means to deliver a good education.

Kennedy School is lost to the children in Cully-Concordia neighborhoods, now these neighborhoods need to turn their attention to saving Faubion School and its 7.9-acre site, which the IP targeted in its LRFP and PPS wants to sell to Concordia University.

They are discussing replacing the Faubion School with a new “green” school built coincidentally a few blocks from Kennedy School. I bet the new school will not be as architecturally beautiful and well constructed as Kennedy School, the school we should still own.

John

Brian Libby's article is completely one sided and innacurate. For example The Board NEVER vetted the letter sent by a neighbor who actually originally wanted to save the building.

This community member strongly advocated for the building after the bond passed, but ultmately accepted the Scool Board decision because he understood that education was priority one which is best served with a replaced Doyle building.

For those that want to understand the actual facts surrounding this issue and for how most of this community really feel please go to the preserveriverdale.org Blog. This website is one sided as well , but the Blog is a good representation of reality.

The petition referenced in Brian Libby's article is made up mostly of people that voted no on the bond any way and even if all of them voted yes and changed their minds the bond still would have passed.

This article is irresponsible and distorts the facts and potentially interferes with the badly needed construction of a new public school.

Brian Libby

John,

I appreciate the passion you bring to this issue. However, the article you mention isn't an article. It's a blog post that puts a letter online that was passed on to me. It's also not an argument, but an open question about whether the Riverdale board deceived voters.

If you or anyone else who wants to demolish the beautiful and historically significant original Riverdale building in order to build a new one, I'd be happy to consider publishing your comments here.

With all due respect, I find it utterly laughable that you think my "article" interferes with the construction of a new school. Since when is a public conversation some kind of sinister, cigar-filled back room closed off to the people?

If you want to talk about irresponsibility and distorting the facts, you might want to have the Riverdale board look in the mirror.

Preserve Riverdale

Vetting of the "Vote Yes to protect the Doyle" letter:

Here is the text of the email (names redacted) supporting the statement that some signers of the letter asked that the letter be certified as truthful before signing:

"(We) signed our letter of support for the school bond only after it had been reviewed by the chairman of the school board as to its truthfulness."

Two School Board members publicly acknowledged their participation in this vetting at the November 10 School Board meeting. Seems pretty clear.


Preserve Riverdale Blog:
As with many blogs, the Preserve Riverdale blog is a forum open to all. Comments there are frequently little more than rants and ad hominem attacks.

So far, no one has been able to articulate in a thoughtful, rational manner specifically WHY a superior education would be provided by demolishing the Doyle building. Many thoughtful people have commented on the advantages of renovation. What is gained by demolition? No one seems able to say.

Voter Confusion Petition:
How does John know how individuals cast their vote on Measure 26-101? There are 118 names on the petition. 1406 votes were cast on Measure 26-101. 788 voted Yes. If 86 of those Yes voters had voted No, the vote would have been 702 Yes, 704 No, and the measure would have failed. Seems pretty clear.

John is representative of demolition proponents have been running from the facts all along. This undermines their credibility.

Why not settle this controversy with a clear, unambiguous vote of the people, as Preserve Riverdale has called for, and as was suggested in mid October?

John

PR

The letter writer's claim is by no means proof of vetting and in fact this statement is in stark contrast to the School Board chairman's statements regarding this issue. If in fact this letter was meant to represent the School district it would have been sent out as an official School Board mailing on school district letter head.

You are connecting this letter to the School board because it serves your purpose.

As for the votes you know as well as I do that not enough people on that petition voted Yes that would have voted No.

As for the BLOG it is a good representation of the feelings in the community and there is more than just personal attacks on it.

As for the educational benefits with a new building, there are many. This topic has been discussed and evaluated for close to two years (with community involvement) and you just do not agree with the conclusions.

Suffice it to say that a huge majority of parents with children in the school and a majority of the School teachers believe that the advantages are significant with a new building.

If they did not believe that then there would be no motivation to replace the Doyle building and deal with the the potential issues that you are creating.

John

BL,

I stand corrected. Your Blog contains very one sided and arguably innaccurate statements that do present this as a deliberate attempt by this School Board to simply demolish a building without presenting any facts as to the process involved in arriving at the decision to replace the Doyle building.

A very sincere effort was made by the School Board, the architects and community members to work out a compromise that retained a renovated Doyle building. In fact a suitable design was presented, but it would have pushed the project cost over budget by around $1,000,000 which was unnacceptable.

Laughable? The fact that you believe that your opinions (very one sided and not always backed up with accurate facts) could not help motivate and individual or group to create legal obstacles in the construction of the new School building is in fact irresponsible.

This is a school that hundreds of children depend on for their education.

You are obviously free to write and say what ever you want, but to the extent that you influence people to interfere with this project you are affecting hundreds of people.

You are quick to accuse the School Board of deception and for "vetting" misleading communications. I find your one sided writings and claims as very hypocritical.

Brian Libby

John,

I don't want to get in the blog-comment version of a shouting match here. You're right: in these posts arguing against Riverdale being demolished, I AM being one-sided. I want Riverdale to be preserved --period.

I have many times now heard the explanations as to why a renovation might cost $100,000 more or some other figure. But to me, tearing down the school can not be justified in any manner, or at least not for any of the reasons stipulated. At the very least the perimeter could be preserved and incorporated into a new hybrid new-old structure.

I believe that sometimes, such as is the case with Riverdale and its seminal architectural-historical significance to all Portlanders, design and construction is about much more than money and budget.

If the school doesn't have $100,000 more to do this right, then don't do it! Instead of an act of destruction that divides the community, how about going to the community to help raise that extra $100,000?

The school may be led by certain professionals and volunteers, but it's also a public building that belongs to the people of Portland and Oregon. We can't afford to let any people, no matter what due diligence or correct process they think they've followed, ruin history like some kind of well-intentioned Taliban.

I'll grant that because I also work as a journalist, it can be potentially confusing to readers new to my work overall as to what's traditional reporting and what's opinion. So let me be clear. Articles like I've written such as today's Oregon piece on the Weave building are reporting. Blog posts about trying to save Riverdale from itself are opinion.

You call my arguments for saving Riverdale "one-sided", but these are opinions based on countless research and conversations. I've deliberately taken one side versus the other, because I agree with one side and disagree with the other. If I'm taking one side, it's the same side that Pietro Belluschi and A.E. Doyle and a broad spectrum of concerned citizens from the Portland metro area--including many Riverdale alums--also occupy.

And my opposition is based on something I don't need any inside information to formulate: that a beautiful and fully functional building by Portland's two most significant and acclaimed architects in the city's history is being torn down for reasons I just don't think suffice or make sense, no matter how many times people use trite cliches like "It's for the kids." (And historic preservation is something not for the kids, we're to believe?)

My apologies for any personal attacks to you, John, or to Riverdale's board. It's easy for all of us to get angry and make nasty remarks, myself included.

John

BL,

I appreciate your last post, but it causes me to ask a question.

There has been over $600,000 spent to date on a new building design and planning has already been done including negotiations with Smith Elementary to school students for the 2009, 2010 school year. To change directions at this point and keep the Doyle building will cost a large percentage of that $600,000 and the project would have to be delayed likely resulting in increased time and cost in a temporary school. The cost will be deducted from proceeds that would be used to build and improve buildings at the existing campus.

Is it right or fair for a minority of the community members (most do not have children in the school)to cause the School District to incur unnecessary costs and delays for the sake of a building? In other words-what is it worth? and when is it time to give it up?

Preserve Riverdale

What if a majority wants to save the Doyle building? Only 39% of those surveyed last April supported demolishing and replacing the Doyle. The bond would not have passed without the votes of non-taxpaying Lewis and Clark students. The existing facts do not point to a mandate to demolish the Doyle building.

Why not let the people vote on this important issue?

Jon

The sad irony now is that the School Board will spend much more then $100,000 in their attempt to justify and go forward with the demolition of the school. I don't think compromise was ever seriously considered by this board, it was just lip service. This is why they don’t want the people to vote on saving the school separately from approving the bond.

John

It is not $100,000 it was $1,000,000 and that number is now higher to change mid stream. Brian Libby changed my number to $100,000.

Brian Libby

My mistake, John and everybody. Sorry about that.

Jon

$1,000,000 or $100 the point remains the same...

John

PR,

The poll last April was not in the context of the benefits of the new building option. At that time the thought was that Doyle would be preserved. That decision changed when the many benefits of a new building were revealed. This was communicated to the entire community clearly and often well before the vote. In fact it is why Steve Jewell (Doyle Building fanatic) sent a letter out to the entire community recommending a no vote on the bond because the Doyle building was not going to be preserved.

A do over vote has a cost associated with it, it would delay progress already made which would cost additional monies, the students would be out of the school for a longer time.

Maybe if your group had several hundred more people on your petition your request would be taken more seriously. Your current petition represents around 10% of the voters in this district.

A huge majority of the parents and the teachers want the new building because of the advantages it offers.

By not moving forward now you keep students in a school that is substandard and presents health and safety risks.

The list goes on and on.

The School Board has a mandate and responsibility to act and make decisions that are in the best interest of the district as a whole and not everyone is going to be happy with their decision.

The Board has been evaluating options (including keeping the Doyle) for close to two years. When all was said and done 4 out of 5 Board members felt that replacing Doyle was in the best interest of the School District.

They did their job! You just do not like their decision.


John

Jon,

The only reason the school will spend a dime extra is to ward off people like you. It is not necessary. Back at you-why don't you and the Preserve Doyle group raise some money to save your building rather then just stand as an obstacle and continue to complain about this and that. If a $100 or a $1,000,000 is no big deal to you then get off your ass and help be part of a solution rather then part of the problem.

If this building is loved so dearly by so many in the Riverdale District then go out and raise some money.

You do know that the School Board asked if the Doyle building group was willing to come up with the difference in cost to save the building and there were no volunteers.

Brian Libby

John John John.

You can't complain about the money necessary to restore the building when we're talking about funds from a bond measure that was passed. This is all extra money that's being given to the community. Had there not been an election over whether or not to allot new funds for Riverdale, this whole argument wouldn't have been necessary.

It's also not fair to say, "They did their job! You just do not like their decision." It's become increasingly clear that the "job" may have included confusing voters or even misleading them by selling the idea of a renovated school and then moving toward a new one.

No matter how much money a renovated Doyle may cost versus a new facility, it will seem irrelevant in the longer view of history. And as it happens, I don't think we can definitively say that there would have to be an added cost anyway.

We all want these kids to be attending the best school possible. Most any of the amenities a new building would provide, however, are also possible in a renovated, expanded Doyle building. And renovation doesn't spit in the face of local history.

The new facility, if it's built, can never, EVER escape what would be lost along the way.

val

"The new facility, if it's built, can never, EVER escape what would be lost along the way."

...and so it was written.
Amen.

Jon

Thanks Brian. Your ability to express thought and ideas through the written word is great.

John

BL,

You do write very well, and maybe you could use some of your words to help me understand some things?

Why do almost all of the parents with children in the school and almost all of the teachers in the school believe that the new building will be superior for education?

They obviously do not believe that the same amenities are possible with a renovated Doyle. Maybe you could shed some light on that for me?

Do you honestly think that anyone wants to be in the middle of this controversy? If it was as simple as keeping enough of the building to make you and a few others happy do you not think they would just do it?

We clearly do not see what you see in the building. Is it possible that the new building is a supperior space for education?And, by demanding that Doyle be retained are you not spitting in the face of the parents with kids in the school and the teachers?

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