A school is demolished, but another one will start to arise in its place next year

RITA A. LEONARD - Only a shell remained in July of Powell Boulevards venerable Kellogg Middle School - being demolished to clear the way for a replacement school to be built on the site next year. Kellogg Middle School, at 3330 S.E. 69th Avenue, on the north side of Powell Boulevard, is in the advanced stages of demolition.

Deconstruction of the 105-year-old brick structure began in April, and much of its material is being salvaged by Northwest Infrastructure. The project is funded through Portland Public School's Building Improvement Bond.

According to neighbor Susan C. Golden Steffen, a former Sellwood resident, workers first demolished the gymnasium on the north side, then cleared out salvageable materials from the interior of the main building. "They told me that the school had initially tried to remedy existing concerns; but, after considering problems with asbestos, ADA access, and non-potable water, it was determined best to demolish the school and build a more modern school at the same site."

Some of the furniture was initially made available for sale, but the remainder was eventually trucked away. "I watch the workers regularly from my porch," Steffen says. "They've removed some of the decorative pieces, like the lions' heads, from the front façade. It's interesting to watch them at work."

In addition to the lion motifs, a pair of owls framed Kellogg's front door. Schools built a century ago often featured decorative symbols of lions and owls, symbolizing pride and wisdom. If you look closely at the mezzanine of Sellwood Middle School, which Steffen attended, you can still see lions and owls there, as well.

Several mature maple trees shading the west side of the school grounds are also expected to be removed. Demolition is planned to be done by August. Northwest Infrastructure has sorted out piles of recyclable materials, fill material, and trash, and has encircled the site with chain-link fencing. New construction is expected to start next year.

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