- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
Students return to class
Students at Oliver P. Lent School returned to class in half-day shifts Thursday after a Monday evening arson caused about $1 million in damage to several classrooms and an auditorium.
About 380 students attend the Southeast Portland school, from preschool through fifth grade, and another 120 toddlers attend the Head Start program there.
Parents learned at a Wednesday night meeting that their children could return to classrooms in the north and south wings of the school, which sustained no major damage.
Crews have been working on repairing smoke and water damage throughout the buildings.
Parents also heard that investigators were looking into whether the arson was related to multiple incidents of vandalism and break-ins at the school in the last year.
Fire bureau spokesman Neil Heesacker revealed earlier this week that the fire was intentionally set. No arrests had been made by Thursday morning, but investigators were following up on tips and working with Portland police, he said.
Anyone who has information about the fire is asked to call 503-823-3791.
Cascadia makes cuts
Thousands of residents lost access to Multnomah County mental health and addiction services after Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare this week closed nine facilities and laid off more than 150 full-time staff members.
Cascadia, which previously provided services to 8,000 people each month, announced Tuesday that the latest round of cuts was inevitable in the current economic climate. The agency now will serve about 5,500 people countywide.
Leslie Ford, Cascadia's chief executive officer, attributed the cuts to the eligibility reductions stemming from the defeat of Measure 28, changes in the Oregon Health Plan and a drop in Multnomah County revenues from $23 million to $10 million this year.
Nine sites will be closed or relocated, including North Portland Addiction Services, 3332 N. Lombard St.; the Plaza annex, 4189 S.E. Division St.; and the Carlyle, 521 S.W. 11th Ave.
Displaced patients can seek crisis help at local emergency rooms. The county's 24-hour crisis hot line is 503-988-4888.
Ñ Tribune staff