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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 29 March 2006

A new elementary school is under construction at the New Columbia housing development in North Portland. All it needs now, besides a few finishing touches, is a name.

The school, which will replace John Ball Elementary, will open in September. Only one other Portland Public Schools campus has opened in more than 30 years — Forest Park Elementary in 1998.

The community is invited to suggest names for the new school. Suggestions will be accepted through April 12. A newly formed committee composedofTamala Newsome, principal of Ball Elementary, along with a teacher, classified staff member, student and community member, will make three to five names recommend to the superintendent. The superintendent, in turn, will recommend one name to the school board for approval.

There are several ways to suggest and comment on possible names: via the Portland Public Schools Web site, www.pps.k12.or.us; by fax at 503-916-3100; by phone at 503-916-3304; or by mail at 501 N. Dixon St., Portland, OR 97227.

School board policy dictates that school names "properly reflect the type and mission of the school … so as to not cause public confusion. In respect for the diversity of our community, names shall have broad acceptance in a multicultural society as determined by the Board of Education."

The policy says the name should:

• Be significant to the community or reflect its culture and history;

• Relate to the neighborhood, places of historical, geographic, geologic or cultural significance, or indigenous and characteristic flora or fauna;

• Be of a deceased leader at the local, state, national or international level who has been dead at least three years; or

• Reflect the community culture and history

A peek at names of some of the district's 85 schools shows a predilection for historical, political and school figures: Hayhurst (opened in 1954), was named for Elizabeth Hayhurst, first president of the OregonParent-Teachers Association; Chief Joseph (1949), for the famous Nez Perce Indian chief; Astor (1949), for John Jacob Astor, whose company founded Astoria; Buckman (1922), for Cyrus Buckman, member of the city council and school board; Rice (1955), for Charles A. Rice, schools superintendent from 1925-1938; Applegate (1954), for Jesse Applegate, Oregon pioneer; and Meriwether Lewis (1952) and William Clark (1955).

Two schools, Duniway (1926) and Scott (1949), are named after siblings. Harvey Scott was a pioneer editor who opposed public education at the high school level. His sister, Abigail Scott Duniway, was a pioneer suffragette who supported public education.Faubion Elementary School's name is a tribute to all of Portland's wounded veterans — James Blair Faubion Jr. lost both legs while serving in World War II and died in 1949.

High school names leaned heavily to presidents. Pioneer religious leaders were numerous as well: Atkinson (1953), was named for the Rev. George Atkinson, also the first Clackamas County schools superintendent; Abernethy (1924), for George Abernethy, the state's first governor; and Eliot (now Boise-Eliot, 1926), for the Rev. Thomas Lamb Eliot, also a Multnomah County schools superintendent.

Some schools were given the name of the subdivision or neighborhood in which they were located: Sunnyside (1925), Woodlawn (1926), Woodstock (1910), Alameda (1921) and Beaumont (1917). Others relate to geographical areas or features: Mt. Tabor (1952), Skyline (1939) and Sylvan (1933).

Several schools were named for nearby streets. Such was the case for Portland's oldest school is Richmond, built in 1908 and named for the subdivision.

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