Breaking: three-alarm fire at Marysville

1:30 pm

KGW is reporting all students and staff were safely evacuated from Marysville K8 school before it was engulfed in flames.

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Steve Rawley published PPS Equity from 2008 to 2010, when he moved his family out of the district.

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35 Responses

  1. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Photos and more news at OregonLive.

  2. Comment from Nancy R.:

    Sending big love to the Marysville community. Ouch. Just watched the news. Glad everyone got out okay, but so sad to see that beautiful school in flames.

    Sounds like they might be housed at Rose City Park, for the time being? Any of you RCP families out there — what is the library space like there? Inquiring minds would like to know…

  3. Comment from marcia:

    Feeling so sad for all those teachers, kids and families.

  4. Comment from Susan:


    Rose City Park is a lovely building with lots of big classrooms with plenty of natural light. The library was a bright and adequate space for a K-5, but I’m not sure any bookcases remain – or what blackboards, white boards, coat hooks, cubbies, etc. remain in the rest of the building. Will be an adjustment for all no matter where the students are located.

    Not sure why Kellogg isn’t the obvious choice – unless it’s still being used as storage, as it was during the physical reorg three years ago.

    Our thoughts are with the Marysville community also.

  5. Comment from Steve Buel:

    Anybody know a address where people could send a donation to help teachers buy new materials. Years ago my wife’s school burnt to the ground in Reynolds. Years of materials were gone. That is one of the most devastating things about a school fire.

  6. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Marysville is over 80% poverty. Does district insurance replace the items that the children lost? They may have lost coats, backpacks etc. and parents might not be able to replace them quickly.

    As for Rose City not having bookcases, blackboards etc….I’m sure the district has surplus available for the new site.

  7. Comment from Nancy R.:

    Buel, maybe people could send donations or drop off items at the office at Rose City Park? Sounds like the kids will be there starting Monday. They are going to need so many little and big things.

    Carrie, I talked to Schoolhouse Supplies last night — they are planning to help teachers however they can, but I’m sure any and all additional help will be appreciated. They provided new backpacks with school supplies for all the kids at the beginning of the year, “So we will just do that again.” (They have corporate sponsors to help.) Have not heard about coats — would be nice if Burlington or Columbia could help, we’ll see.

  8. Comment from Susan:

    Roseway Heights has started a book drive to help replace some classroom books. Donations of K-8 books (fiction and nonfiction) can be donated at Roseway Heights before Marysville opens at RCP on Monday. Parents at Roseway are working with Marysville teachers to deliver the books. The greatest need is for K-3 books — those classrooms were a total loss, as was the book room that housed novel sets for classroom book groups (K-8), so money might be helpful also (directly to Marysville).

  9. Comment from Stephanie:

    Is there any contact information or just package up the books and take them to RCP? It might take our PTO a little time to coordinate a donation effort so any links with contacts or drop off dates etc. would be helpful for me to share with our PTO.

  10. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    From the PPS website “The community has responded with an outpouring of support. The school district will help coordinate volunteer efforts – probably asking for a weekend work session to beautify the grounds. For more information, e-mail Andre Jackson at”

  11. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Just a heads up on the Rose City Park building…A PPS Educational Adequacy and Facility Assessment completed in February 2008 lists 4 pages of deficiencies for the Rose City Park site. Among the building deficiencies:

    Fire sprinklers heads are damaged and require replacement.

    Fire Alarm is missing or inadequate.

    Emergency lighting is inadequate or not present and should be installed.

    Crawlspace has asbestos containing material.

    General hazardous materials deficiency.

    The only city building permits taken out since that time is for gymnasium lighting.

  12. Comment from Susan:


    I’m sure your list is accurate – although I wouldn’t be surprised if most PPS schools include the same items for schools that are currently open.

    Interestingly enough, none of the issues you listed were given to parents or staff of RCP when district told us we were closing (no, moving– no closing– no reorging!). The issues were inadequate earthquake-proofing (building is solid brick, but was reinforced at one time – just not up to current standards) and it’s a three-storey building with no elevator and stairs to almost all entrances.

    PPS has requested community support on Saturday to help move furniture into rooms (yikes, I can tell you after moving computers all over the building one summer that will be a huge job with no elevator), and more clean-up of the building and grounds. Please come and see for yourself. It’s a beautiful school and surely just as safe as the other buildings in PPS that are in need of remodel/rebuilding.

    The RCP community wants to welcome the Marysville community into a safe and clean building. Please come and help us with that goal.

  13. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Even more breaking news…”After the blaze at Marysville School, a retired inspector sounds the alarm.”

    District staff that prevented maintenance workers from documenting potential fire hazards in some of the district’s 85 schools should face criminal charges.

  14. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    The link below provides building deficiency reports for all PPS. Parents need to check out the safety of their children’s schools.

  15. Comment from Susan:

    Building safety issues were a big concern during the reorganization process, along with building space inadequacies. Another frustration of the reorg process. The district and board (and parents/staff) knew buildings were in dire need of high-level maintenance and/or they were inadequate to house K-8 configurations. We kept hearing, don’t worry about it – we’ll pass a bond measure next year and you all will either have new buildings or remodeled buildings. Now we hearing, don’t worry about it – we’ll redesign the high schools and all this will create equity.

    I’ll be first in line to vote for a bond measure to rebuild safe, accessible and adequate PPS schools. This step should have been first before moving staff and students around like chess pieces, as Dilafruz Williams so accurately commented years ago.

    It will be interesting to see which schools PPS will rebuild/remodel or just flat out close and sell. David Wynde reportedly spoke to the Rose City Park Neighborhood Association recently and told them Rose City Park School was closed because it was too small and PPS can’t support small schools. Hey Ruth, you might want to have a chat with David. RCP had 435 students the year the board voted to close it. How many had less than 400 in 2008-2009? 21 by my count, including Rieke with 348 – 100 less than RCP, but so many that PPS needed to spend more money for portables. I’m glad Rieke was able to stay open. And will be happy if PPS figures out that the RCP neighborhood did and can strongly support a neighborhood school.

  16. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    I noticed at last night’s Jefferson meeting that one of the emergency exit signs in the cafeteria was not lit. Damaged or missing exit signs were noted in the 2008 building deficiencies report.

    It’s great that the district is hiring four more fire system inspectors but what about the other “fire and life safety” repairs noted in the reports?

    I believe it was Matt Shelby who said fire alarms and sprinklers buy you time but the most important piece in fire safety is to have a good evacuation plan.

  17. Comment from Joe Hill:

    Carrie et al. my apologies if this is the wrong place to ask (and it is) but: is there anywhere here or elsewhere that I can get an account of the meeting at Jefferson last night? I search the newspapers and get nothing. Is any local blogger covering this? I would like to know what is happening.

  18. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Joe – I haven’t seen anything about last night’s meeting at Jefferson.

  19. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    Joe, I didn’t go to the Jefferson meeting, but I talked to a reporter today who did. It sounds like the typical situation that’s happened at the other schools: people come in with a range of knowledge about the proposed redesign, from absolutely nothing, to a pretty good concept of what’s being proposed.

    The district gives a very high-level presentation, with very little detail or depth, and no indication of which schools it might close or convert to magnets. Then they take questions, which reflect that broad range of knowledge the community brings.

    Of course there is a great deal of mistrust in the Jefferson community, but the district is also facing a lot of distrust at the other end of things. Before the meetings at both Grant and Cleveland, rumors were frantically circulating on e-mail lists that those schools would be closed or converted to special focus schools.

    So the district is getting it from both ends now, those it has historically screwed over (Jefferson) and those that have the most to lose by being “equalized down” (Grant, Cleveland). Too bad they didn’t build some good faith by fixing the middle grades first.

  20. Comment from Rita:

    OPB radio had a short piece on the Jefferson meeting this afternoon. Wasn’t particularly detailed, but it included a clip of the question on closures.

    I went to both the Lincoln and Jefferson meetings Monday and Tuesday. (I couldn’t bear a third one tonight at Roosevelt, but got a report from a friend and it sounded similar.) At the two I went to, the attendance was significant – packed at Lincoln, and pretty full at Jeff (we pretty substantially overwhelmed the available tables and chairs, so I think we exceeded expectations).

    The presentation was much as Steve related: a very broad description of what a “full” curriculum would be, with even less detail this time than was available at the last round of meetings in October. The message was that the comprehensive high schools are expected to be between 1200-1350 students, which would allow for sufficient FTE to support a core curriculum including two world languages at each school, full math, science, and language arts plus some arts; some career pathways; as well as supports like counseling and academic recovery. The point was made several times that the District has determined that it can provide this curriculum with existing resources.

    I noted that the District speakers indicated that there would continue to be variation among the high schools based on decisions made at the school level about specific courses. For example, some arts would be part of the core curriculum, but an individual school could decide between, say, band and theater. In addition, at Lincoln, Toni Hunter suggested that their foundation would still be able to supplement funds to provide additional offerings. So this model establishes a minimum curriculum that every high school is supposed to have; variations will be allowed (maybe encouraged).

    The questions at both forums focused on lots of specifics, none of which were really answered. At Lincoln, not surprisingly, the questions almost universally asked for reassurance that the program (esp. IB and language immersion) would not be substantially changed or degraded (and preferably without the parents having to subsidize with the Foundation). At Jeff, the questions were similarly predictable: which schools will be closed? If transfers are ended, how can I be sure my kid will get real access to a full curriculum? Will my kid really get access to IB or AP at his home school? What will the focus option schools be and where will they be located? How is this going to work if you don’t fix the K-8s?

    Most of the questions (esp. at Lincoln) were left unanswered amid claims of “we haven’t decided” or “that’s not the topic of discussion for this evening, but we’ll be having future meetings on that.”

    Since I’ve been following this pretty closely over that last year, I didn’t learn anything particularly new and, truth be told, I’m not quite sure what the purpose of this round of meetings is. But I’m sure I’m not the typical attendee. I’d be very curious to hear what other attendees thought. My sense of the Lincoln meeting was that many of the parents probably left irritated by the lack of specificity and concerned (maybe mobilized?) at the prospect of possible cuts. At Jefferson, the crowd felt skeptical and resigned. But that’s just me. What did others think?

  21. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    Rita, thank you for the update. I just stopped dead at this:

    “…but an individual school could decide between, say, band and theater…”

    This is exactly why I’m not going to any of the meetings. This is messed up.

  22. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Wacky Mommy – You’re going to miss “quiet write” and “table talk”.

  23. Comment from pdxmomto2:

    I’m not an expert but, if they eliminate transfers and still allow foundations to support additional academic offerings (i.e. FTE) then In my mind there will be grounds for a civil rights suit.

  24. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    “Quiet write”? I write loud.

  25. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Oh. You must be using a no. 3 pencil 🙂

  26. Comment from SR:

    Here’s the link to the PDC/Lincoln document.

    I’ll bet if Lincoln closes it’s only until the new building is ready.

  27. Comment from Joe Hill:

    If there is IB at Lincoln and or Cleveland or any other “white” neighborhood, then by God I want to see it at Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, and Madison.

    Everything or nothing. All of us or none of us. No more of this “your foundation can buy it” crap.

  28. Comment from Miss Merry Sunshine:

    Amen Joe Hill–you can bet that “your foundation can buy it crap” just perpetuates the rich/poor, minority/majority crap—just more of the same status quo.

    Based on previous experience for the past decade or so, I’ll put my money on the hunch that this redesign is quite fully planned out, but we won’t hear about it until the last minutes–the rumor among teachers is that the key administrative players have already decided what they are going to do. The level of distrust in this district for administrative staff is the worse I’ve seen it in three decades. Does anyone out there trust these people? Do THEY have any idea what they must do to earn the trust of their teachers, workers, community? Do they CARE? Especially since we now have some Broad people at the top? We’re just another business….

  29. Comment from pdxmomto2:

    To add to the rumor mill…a parent of a TAG Access @Sabin student was told that the program and and Access @ Grant program may both be moving to Jefferson . . . I too believe someone has a plan for EXACTLY what everything will look like … they just aren’t talking, they want the appearance of community involvement.

  30. Comment from marcia:

    Same ol, same ol

  31. Comment from marcia:

    The art teacher at our school also said to make sure that people realize ART is not listed as an option on the school redesign agendas.

  32. Comment from Carrie Adams:

    Has anyone heard an update on the cause of the Marysville fire?

  33. Comment from Zarwen:

    This link, dated Jan. 4, says the cause is “still undetermined”:

  34. Comment from Steve Rawley:

    I doubt we’ll ever know for sure. Fire investigations are far less scientific than most people think. Here’s a fascinating article in the New Yorker from last September on the topic.

  35. Comment from Rita:

    That was a great New Yorker article. I recommend it, too.