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What can we say... These people just don't value historic architecture. They'd rather have a dedicated cafeteria for their kids and a loading area for their SUV's then a building designed by A.E. Doyle and Pietro Belluschi. Different strokes for different folks. Sad.

Laurence Qamar

It is a shame to lose this school building. I went out and visited Riverdale a few weeks ago. It is a truly elegant building and landscape, especially seen from the sides and front, and worthy of care and restoration. Granted the interior was very poorly renovated in the past with a narrow, low ceiling center hall. It needs a gut rehab. But the classrooms have nice large windows letting in plenty of light.

As I wrote once before on this blog, I am surprised that more of a campus planning approach that would preserve the old Doyle/Belluschi building was not taken. It's hard to believe that demolition of the old brick building, and construction of a single much larger building would be more economical than adding a smaller building and renovating the old main school. Two or three smaller buildings with courtyards and gardens closely clustered would offer students a much more sustainable and pedagogical environment.

A single, large building to house almost all the schools functions follows the current convention of school design. It seems born more out of a notion of economic efficiency rather than a broader educational philosophy of letting children move in and out of doors, through gardens and arcades during the course of their day. Phasing new, old, and renovated buildings into a campus plan over several years may even save money in the long run.


The people in the Ashcreek Neighborhood of Portland are dreading the potential traffic from the Riverdale philistines renting their beloved Smith School and the army of SUV’s that will be plying their sleepy bedroom community.


For a true candidate comparison, I strongly recommend that all voters go to the Oregonian voters guide and look at the side-by-side comparison of the candidates:


At a time when other surrounding districts are cutting staff by the hundreds, the incumbent Riverdale School Board has kept the District financially stable and healthy. This comes from OPERATING funds vs. CAPITAL funds which are used for construction projects. Operating funds are used to run the District, Mr. Libby. Bond funds are used for construction. There has been no "brink of outright destruction," but it was a nice turn of phrase, however inaccurate.

That two out of three challengers haven't set foot at a School Board meeting, none at a budget or other meeting since they declared; let alone inside one of the two schools over which they would have control (Riverdale High School) EVER is an insult to staff, administration, parents, and students. They are completely running on one issue and one issue alone, and that is a disservice to hundreds of students.

Incidently, Tom Hatch doesn't coach a girls basketball team at Riverdale, but he did a long time ago. It's great that you point out his past volunteer effort, but why didn't you also mention the others' community contributions? The incumbents have quite a breadth of volunteer efforts for many years. I understand your passion for architecture, but why the personal attacks? These are good people who voluntarily have spent hundreds of hours managing an outstanding District. Agree to disagree on the building, but come on! Your bias is showing.

Finally, the incumbent candidates pledge to move forward and heal the community to the best of their ability, if they're elected. The sad thing is, no matter how hard they try, the neighborhood chasm caused actually by the vitriol and slander spread by Preserve Riverdale, will be difficult to mend. These include numerous factually-lacking personal attacks on Board members in the form of mailings to the Riverdale community (including, ironically, an unrecycle-able DVD.) The question is: if the Preserve Riverdale slate loses, will the Preserve Riverdale board allow the community to move on? How much legal firepower will they levy and why? Who REALLY has divided the community? What will it take, specifically, for the elected school board to be allowed to govern?

Brian Libby

Vitriol and slander by Preserve Riverdale will be difficult to mend? Who started this divisive building campaign, anyway?

Maybe there has been some unfortunate friction and hostility amongst preservationists and those seeking to build a new building, but it's not fair to blame the division on those reacting to a divisive action.



There is something that Steve failed to mention that is important in this debate about the Doyle building. A great majority of residents in the community really do not care if the Doyle is replaced. This becomes even more true when residents take the time to understand the educational benefits of the replacement option.

In fact, the primary issue that the slate of oposing candidates is running on in conjunction with Preserve Riverdale is building a smaller less expensive school and paying down the bond debt early which is argued to lessen the tax burden at some future date. Buried in this message is saving the building somehow.

The preserve the building position received such little traction that the message was changed to "we will give you money back in the form of lower taxes". In tough economic times this is a logical message and the issue that made the original bond vote very close if you exclude Lewis and Clark students. So, unless packaged with "we will give you some money back" saving the building is not compelling enough to sway very many people.

Preserve Riverdale has been extremely divisive during this campaign and they have changed their message numerous times to find some wedge issue to exploit. Save the building has never attracted more than about 20% of the residents in the community. Please do not site their survey as concrete evidence to the contrary. That survey was basically push polling and avoided the context of education (again).

On a similar note, it is not just coincidence that niether the mission statement or the goals statement on the Preserve Riverdale website mention the importance of education. in contrast, the goals of the current School Board have always had education as their first priority and it is this fact that lead them to decide to replace the Doyle building.

I support the incumbents and I have been very pleased to see their message stay positive even though it was tempting to run a negative campaign.

I am on the School budget comittee and losing the 3 incumbent school board members would be a huge loss to this district.

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