The Forum: Letters to the Editor

May 2013 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

Bond will not raise taxes 

The Silver Falls School Bond measure boils down to:
1. Move the little children out of the 92-year-old Eugene Field which has been declared unsafe in an earthquake.
2. Funding much needed maintenance, upgrades and safety measures for all of our schools. The Citizens Advisory Board worked closely with the school board to develop this bond measure. They hired top-notch engineering and architecture firms to advise them. It is a thoughtful, prudent plan to build a new middle school at the old high school site, and make room for the little children to move to Robert Frost and Mark Twain. It was judged by the advisory board and school board to be the most economical and prudent use of our bond funds,  and IT WILL NOT RAISE TAXES.

We do not need to shore up that 92-year-old building. A clamor of contrary arguments has surfaced on this bond measure. However, the bottom line is that we need to move the little children out of Eugene Field School. As citizens of this town, we need to do it now and Vote YES for the school bond.

Michael Gabe, MD


Bond not needed

Closing Eugene Field Elementary School has been rejected by voters four times. The latest $36.9 million bond request appears predicated on tearing down or selling the 92-year-old Eugene Field and upgrading Schlador campus to fill the gap. Some reasons graphically illustrated on the district’s website include moss and dry rot in the roof, moss on the window sills, clogged drains, rusty sinks and earthquake vulnerability. As an owner of a similar age properties, these are failed maintenance issues and long-range failures to make appropriate upgrades.

While the Silver Falls School Board suggests Eugene Field at 92 years old has outlived its usefulness and is unsafe, the Oregon Legislature has earmarked millions of dollars for earthquake retrofitting of unsafe schools with grants up to $1.5 million for schools as Milwaukie Elementary School (97 years old), Albany’s Central Elementary (99 year old) and Applegate School (103 years old). Grants covered things like roof replacement and ceiling and wall reinforcement. Why has the Silver Falls School District not considered and applied for such grants as well as other historic preservation grants? And simple solutions are available for protecting the school from intrusion, with grants likely soon available. Silverton is a historic town and many downtown buildings of the same vintage as Eugene Field have been well maintained and earthquake retrofitted by conscientious owners. The school board (Roth) equating fixing Eugene Field with “putting lipstick on a pig” is offensive given failed maintenance issues and the value of historic buildings that attract people to Silverton.

Carol Hendrix


Why a Yes vote on bond is needed

Facts of the matter: Eugene Field Elementary contains asbestos; is 92 years old; does not comply with current building codes; does not have adequate fire systems in place; and has dry rot in the roof. The list is endless.

In response to recent claims about finding value in costs associated with “saving” Eugene Field Elementary, let the 2012 report and photos, (“Preliminary Review for Future Use – Eugene Field Elementary”) available on the Silver Falls School District website explain otherwise. Learning that the exterior walls are made of “unreinforced hollow clay tile,” and therefore, “does not likely contain a single structural element that meets current structural or fire codes” or that the fire system is inadequate or that the electrical system has 1929 bare wire, is enough to make me want to run away screaming. Reports indicate that current structural upgrades would cost $4.448 million; fire system upgrades, $275,000; dry rot repair, $278,500; total cost $5 million—assuming that the engineers and contractors don’t find anything else wrong that is hidden from the naked eye. Now, add in additional code requirements for ADA, mechanical, plumbing, electrical and seismic upgrades to assure that the current clay tiles holding up the current structure don’t fall in on our young community members, and we are in the neighborhood of $8.5 million for total renovation and not the $1.5 million, as alluded to in a recent letter to the editor.

The time is now to end this phase and build a better place for the teachers—for whom we tirelessly support with volunteer hours—and for the children—for whom we tirelessly support as parents. Eugene Field Elementary has served its purpose with distinction and has now moved beyond its useful life. We can save some of our “old schools,” but just not this one. The time is now for us to build a safer place for the younger members of our community to learn. It is now time to complete repairs and upgrades, district-wide, as recommended by our locally elected school board. It is our community responsibility! Vote for our children and mark “YES” to approve the school bond.

I am!

Leslie Fisher


13 Reasons to Vote No

Reasons to Vote No on the Silver Falls School Bond May 21:

1. Living on a Fixed Income;
2. Passed a bond for the Swimming Pool;
3. Property taxes too high;
4. Water and sewer rates going up;
5. Food prices keep going up;
6. High gas prices;
7. Lost a job and looking for work;
8. Rent is going up;
9. Working for minimum wage;
10. End of payroll tax cut;
11. May have to sell your home;
12. Destruction of historic “Eugene Field” and 13. $36.9 million is a whole lot of money to burden taxpayers with for the next 25 years and the amount is NOT GUARANTEED!

We can take care of what we have, repair Silverton’s historic schools and continue to provide an excellent education for our students for a lot less money.

C.L. Clark


Learn why a Yes vote is needed

We are all very fortunate.  We live in a country with nearly unlimited access to unrestricted information to help us make informed decisions when we fill out our voter ballots. Please take advantage of this luxury.  Before you vote on Measure 24-352, the SFSD School Bond, get on your computer and look up the District’s website, the Friends of Silver Falls School District’s website (, FOFSD facebook page, all of the in-depth press by our local newpapers on this and other bonds, and even, believe it or not, wikipedia. The District’s website contains tons of information including the reports that were made to the Citizen Committee that recommended to the board that it put this bond on the ballot.

Our website and Facebook pages try to give you more information about how your community feels about this bond.  Wikipedia is great for a real history of the old bonds that many of you seem to question. If this isn’t enough information  (and it may not be), take a tour of Eugene Field and talk to the parents, staff and kids that spend their days there. Talk to them and ask how they would like for you to vote and why. Look up our local newspaper coverage on this and past bonds.  Call the District or the Board members and ask questions. There’s so much information available to you!

All I ask is that before you vote “no” for the fifth time on a bond intended to save our kids from Eugene Field, that you are fully informed of why and how this bond was created, what it will do, how it will be monitored by citizen involvement and, most importantly, what will happen if it does not pass. You owe this to the rest of your community.

Stacy Posegate

Friends of Silver Falls School District

Thank you Scotts Mills

The Scotts Mills School Parent Teacher Community Club would like to say thank you to all the community business and individuals for their generous donations for our Family Bingo and Raffle event in April. We had a very successful evening and fundraised over $3,000! These funds will be used for technology, field trips, our music program, and the 5th grade 3-night outdoor school to the coast. I am astounded at the support we received from all of you, thank you so much! Our students are grateful as well and are writing you thank you notes this week, so be expecting them in your mailbox soon. With much appreciation,

Nicole Brown

PTCC Treasurer 

Scotts Mills

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