News briefs

March 12

Forum open to commission hopefuls

About a dozen county residents have thrown their hat in the ring for election to the expanded Board of County Commissioners. New positions and those being vacated by current commissioners, as well as incumbents filing for reelection, have created a flurry in the race.

All Commission candidates have been invited to a luncheon on Friday, March 21, at which each will have an opportunity to explain to voters why they should be elected. Each will have a few minutes at the podium and questions will then be posed to all. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Coordinated by the North Clackamas County Chamber's Public Policy Team, the luncheon will be sponsored by Oregon Iron Works and videoed for showing on the county cable channel.

Questionnaires from all candidates will be posted on the North Clackamas Chamber's Web site as they are received. Go to, and click on candidate questionnaires in the white box.

Reservations are now being taken, at $15 each, for the event, which will be held in the OIT Conference Center. Luncheon seating begins at 11:30am; the program begins at 11:55 a.m., and will conclude at 1:15.

Local girls mix it up in Scrabble tourney

Nicole Heitzman and Mariah Denman, students from Milwaukie's Cascade Heights Public Charter School, took fifth place at the 7th Annual Oregon School Scrabble Tournament at Tualatin Elementary School on Saturday, March 1.

On that day, 42 students from 10 schools played in teams of two, participating in six games.

Door prizes were given throughout the day. Orange juice and doughnuts were provided in the morning with a pizza party lunch and an ice cream snack between games five and six. The main sponsor for the event was Chehalem Park and Recreation District (C.P.R.D.) from Newberg.

Oregon City elevator closing for a week

As a part of the Oregon City Elevator Art Project, Oregon City Public Works Department has scheduled to have the ceiling surface inside the elevator observation deck re-done. The elevator will be closed March 16 to 23 to allow for demolition and painting. The elevator will be re-opened March 24. Depending on the texture dry time the painting may come later; but if time beyond March 23 is needed the contractor will work around the elevator's routine operating schedule.

Putnam launches International program this fall

Rex Putnam High School will offer students an International Baccalaureate (IB) program beginning with the 2008-09 school year. The coursework allows students to pursue an academically rigorous college prep curriculum now offered at 1,900 schools in 124 nations.

International Baccalaureate courses are offered to high school juniors and seniors and are similar to college-level Advanced Placement courses. Students have the option of taking individual courses or working toward an IB diploma by taking an interdisciplinary Theory of Knowledge course, performing 120 hours of community service, and writing a 4,000-word essay.

Students must also complete IB coursework in six subjects, including math and computer science, English, a second language, individuals and societies, the arts and experimental science.

Forty percent of Putnam High sophomores have registered for at least one IB class next year, and three dozen will pursue the IB diploma.

The International Baccalaureate World School review team commended Putnam High School teachers for their commitment to students, saying, 'They are a highly qualified and caring staff who are willing and able to work collaboratively to help their students achieve success. They are sincere in their desire to bring the IB philosophy of inquiry, rigor, and international-mindedness to the school.'

For more information about the IB program at Rex Putnam High School, contact Traci Phillis at 503-353-5870, extension 38619.

Groundbreaking at Bilquist Elementary

Community members are invited to a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the launch of a major renovation of Bilquist Elementary School.

This project, by Skanska Construction, will get underway during spring break. It will be a complete remodel of the school, including new window glass, new paint, and new flooring, plus a four-classroom addition that will free up space for a new media center and computer lab. Skylights and breakout areas for small group instruction will be added. Bathrooms will be remodeled and parking will be improved.

The groundbreaking event, including student performances, will take place at Bilquist on Tuesday, March 18 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow.

Schools celebrate Read Across America

This week, several North Clackamas Schools will celebrate the importance and fun of reading with special events as part of Read Across America, a nationwide event sponsored by the National Education Association.

Special events include Dr. Seuss trivia questions at Sunnyside Elementary, a family book fair at View Acres Elementary, and pajama day at Campbell Elementary. At Lot Whitcomb and Oak Grove schools, fire fighters, sheriff's officers and other community leaders serve as celebrity guest readers.