Friday, October 16, 2009
Last night I attended the open house for the proposed Southeast Community Center at the site of the old Washington Monroe High School. I guess I was a little dense when the early debates were going on because it never occurred to me that they would build a new building at the site (the corner of SE 12th & Stark.) I thought the plans were always to re-purpose the old high school building for the new community center. That building has been left to sit vacant for years by Portland Public Schools. At our September Sunnyside Neighborhood Association meeting representatives from the Advisory Committee gave us an update which included the elimination of Option B, the only viable choice to preserve the building. Option A leaves WaMo vacant to continue to deteriorate and a brand new building constructed. Option C is the so called "gut and stuff" solution which preserves the facade as an exterior shell but the entire interior would be destroyed to accomodate the new facility which includes aquatics. I cannot stomach either of the remaining options. The architect from SERA last night said that in its current state the building, which was built in 1922, would qualify for the National Resister. I could never in good conscious vote for a bond measure which would destroy the historial integrity of a building that qualifies as such. I will stay involved in this process and hope that we can all work together to come to a resolution that benefits everyone and is not dictated by a timeline of trying to get this project added to the next bond measure.