Lake Oswego parent Brian Madden says he thinks the $187 million school bond slated for the May 16 ballot is "very important."
One reason why, Madden says, is that the "aging infrastructure of our schools is not matching the quality of education for our district."
Madden has three children in the Lake Oswego School District, a sixth-grader at Lakeridge Junior High and a first-grader and third-grader at Westridge Elementary School. One of the problems at Westridge, he says, is that the windows don't open; teachers measured temperatures as high as the mid-80s in classrooms this past fall.
"That is not conducive to a good learning environment for our children," he says.
The district piloted a project in October to help. A Kentucky-based company donated and installed fans in one classroom to address the problem, but there are still a ton of other issues at Westridge, including roofing and siding woes.
The 46,712-square-foot, one-story structure hasn't been remodeled since it was built in 1980. It has out-of-date mechanical equipment; windows are cracked and permanently fogged with moisture from water intrusion; the roof is covered by fluffy moss and is pocked with air pockets; and the siding is in such poor condition that small plants are sprouting from it in places.
One roof-level windowsill looks like it has a flower basket at first glance, but on closer examination it's clear that it's blighted by lichen, moss, mold, general rot and a little volunteer fern.
Former Westridge Principal Tin Kha noted last year that the rotting wood of the shingles crumbles in your hands when you touch the siding. (The current principal is Kari Montgomery.)
"You would be concerned if this was your home," Kha said at the time.
Community members will have a chance to see for themselves Thursday night when the LOSD hosts the fifth in a series of tours designed to provide an up-close look at the maintenance issues behind a $187 million bond measure planned for the May ballot. The Westridge tour, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 2, is also accompanied by the fifth installment in The Review's series of video tours (available online at tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017W ).
Additional tours are scheduled through April 27 at more of the LOSD's operating elementary, junior high and high schools. Coming up next: LOJ on March 16.
Fixing the problems
According to a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) completed for the school district in 2015, it would cost an estimated $3.97 million to repair Westridge or $11.91 million to replace it, not counting soft costs such as design and personnel.
"One thing that I've noticed whenever I come back to Westridge is the condition of the siding, and all of the warps and cracking and missing shingles," says Lake Oswego School Board Chair Sarah Howell. The LOSD also offered tours of its schools last summer, and Howell hosted the one at Westridge.
On a return visit last week that included a walk on the roof of the structure, she told The Review that the building's mossy top has serious problems.
"This is not intended to be a green roof," she says. "The roof needs to be replaced, and this school is slated for a full investment in all of the deferred maintenance" it needs if the $187 million bond measure that will go before voters in May is approved.
The school district began deferring maintenance at Westridge and other schools during the Great Recession, when funds were scarce. That decision directed resources toward teachers and programming, but it created a titanic backlog of repairs.
In August 2016, the Lake Oswego School Board approved a plan for a three-phase bond that includes scads of building renovations and replacements. It also would fund improvements to security, safety and technology.
The $187 million Phase One features $61.44 million for deferred maintenance and capital repairs at all 10 schools and $82.3 million for the replacement of Lakeridge Junior High, which stands on shifting soil and has cracks in its foundation and load-bearing walls. There also will be additional fund-ing for science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) programs, maker spaces/multipurpose rooms and replacement of the district pool.
Phase One of the bond would carry a bond rate of $1.25 per $1,000 assessed property value. According to updated numbers released last month, the bond would establish a tax rate of $425 per year for a home with an assessed value of $340,000, the average according to Clackamas County. (Assessed value is about two-thirds of a typical home's real market value.)
A $200 million Phase Two slated for the ballot in 2021 includes replacing Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary School. In 2025, locals will vote on the $150 million Phase Three, which includes constructing new buildings for Forest Hills and Lake Grove elementary schools.
IF YOU GO
Every in-person tour of the LOSD's 10 schools will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on a Thursday:
• River Grove Elementary's tour was held on Jan. 19;
• Forest Hills Elementary's tour was held on Feb. 9;
• Oak Creek Elementary's was held on Feb. 16;
• Lake Grove Elementary's tour was held on Feb. 23;
• Westridge Elementary: 3400 Royce Way, March 2;
• Lake Oswego Junior High: 2500 Country Club Road, March 16;
• Lakeridge High: 1235 Overlook Road, March 23;
• Hallinan Elementary: 16800 Hawthorne Drive, April 13;
• Lakeridge Junior High: 4700 Jean Road, April 20;
• Lake Oswego High School and the district pool: 2501 Country Club Road, April 27.
VIEW IT: The Review has been releasing a series of videos in conjunction with the in-person tours:
• To see a virtual tour of River Grove, go to tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017RG.
• To see a virtual tour of Forest Hills, go to tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017FH.
• To see a virtual tour of Oak Creek, go to
• To see a virtual tour of Lake Grove, go to
n To see a virtual tour of Westridge, go to