Developer Makes Progress with WaHi Site

By Special to The Oregonian

December 09, 2009, 12:53PM

The still-unidentified developer who wants to buy the old Washington High School building and convert it to 45 to 50 housing units is making progress. He's been talking to the Portland Development Commission about housing grants and is exploring historic preservation tax credits that would help make the project feasible. 

Meanwhile, Portland Public Schools is updating an appraisal, likely to be finished by mid-January, that would help set a sales price. A proposed sale could be submitted to the Portland School Board by March or April, says Doug Capps, a school district facilities manager. 

If a portion of the school's ground floor is leased to the Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation, a proposed new community center building next door with pools and a gym could be held to a single story, saving on construction costs. 

"I think it would be much more compatible for the neighborhood," says Kurt Schultz, an architect working on preliminary plans. 

A citizen advisory committee for the community center likes the one-story plan and the proposed mixed usage for the long-vacant Washington High building. "The news is good," says Susan Lindsay, the committee chairwoman. "So far there haven't been any major roadblocks" for the preservation plan, which surfaced only a month ago. 

-- Fred Leeson, special to The Oregonian