The School District just released this statement which is consistent with a conversation I had with the School Board Chair, Regan Molatore, this morning. Thank you for this re-engagement effort!
There is much community work left to be done to shepherd this transaction from statements to sale, but the last 24 hours are encouraging.
West Linn-Wilsonville School District Statement to the Public 05/28/2021
In Response to City of West Linn’s Interest with Oppenlander Property
Review of Oppenlander Property
In March 2020, the West Linn-Wilsonville School Board (Board) requested the District Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) review District land holdings (land without schools sited on them) and evaluate whether each property was still suitable for future District use. As a result of this process, the LRPC determined in January of 2021 that the District’s Oppenlander property no longer identified as having a future school use and was deemed surplus. The LRPC also recommended that the Board inquire if the City of West Linn (City) had interest in purchasing the property to maintain as a park, or in its current state, for the continued benefit of its citizens. If the City had no
interest, the property should be sold and the proceeds “land banked” for purchase of a future school site. The Board concurred with the LRPC recommendation.
Initial Offer to City of West Linn
In February 2021, the Board approached the West Linn City Council, through an executive session process, with an offer to sell the Oppenlander property at the appraised value of $6,500,000. The City relayed information back to the Board that they did not have the funds readily available for a land purchase but that there was interest in the property. They requested time to bring the purchase to the citizens for a November general obligation bond measure vote. The City also communicated that a park was not the highest priority purpose they had for the property. They would be interested in possible multi-use housing, maintenance yard, aquatic center or other pressing needs as
there was already a park nearby (Parker Road).
On April 19, both the City Council and the Board had their own executive sessions. At each session, the potential sale/purchase of Oppenlander was discussed. The Board concluded at its executive session that for two reasons they needed to pass on the City’s request: first, the lack of commitment that the land be exclusively retained as a park; and second, the timing of waiting until November for any purchase certainty.
The Board never received an option agreement from the City. The morning after both the City and the Board had their executive sessions, the District and City contacted one another. The District shared that the Board had discussed the City’s request and needed to pass. The City stated that an option agreement reflecting their request had been drafted during their meeting, but now upon hearing the District’s decision concluded it was not necessary to send it. Two weeks later, the District contacted Capacity Commercial Group to begin the sale proceedings for the Oppenlander property.
Valued Partnership Between District and City
It is important for our community to know that the West Linn-Wilsonville School District has a long and positive relationship with the City of West Linn. This will continue. Both the City and the District share mutual priorities in maintaining healthy and vibrant neighborhoods for the children, families and patrons of the community. We have collaborated together over joint community projects, school and city activities, safety summits, equity initiatives and resources for our families. We firmly believe we are stronger together.
School Board Will Reconvene
Because of this mutually respectful and collaborative relationship, the Board will convene an executive session meeting during the first week in June in response to the City’s public statement on May 27th, expressing continued interest in the purchase of the Oppenlander property. The meeting will be noticed publicly, but will not be open to the public per ORS 192.660(2)(e). The Board will share its decision publicly.
Regan Molatore, Chair
West Linn-Wilsonville School Board
But It’s NOT a Done Deal Yet – We Must Keep the Pressure On!
We are a long way from the finish line. Neither side is actually back at the table yet. We need to keep the pressure on! Keep sharing SaveOppenlander.org to help us get more signatures on the petitions, keep sending emails, and come to the Rally tomorrow morning!