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Three Lynx demolition will likely occur this summer


The Mt. Hood National Forest Service has accepted the Estacada School District's time line for the demolition of the Three Lynx school building.

The building has plenty lot of history.

The Three Lynx community came into being during the construction of the Oak Grove dam in the 1920s.

Portland General Electric set up “kit” homes for its workers during the project.

Seventeen houses from that community still stand today. Roughly half are occupied by PGE employees and their families.

In 1927, the U.S. Forest Service issued a permit for the operation of the Three Lynx School on its land.

But the building hasn’t been used as a school since 1988, which puts the school district in violation of its special-use permit.

“Since 1988, the Forest Service has been working with the school district to come up with a good plan,” said Laura Pramuk, Mt. Hood National Forest public affairs officer.

The school district owns the building, the Forest Service owns the land and PGE supplies water and sewer services to the school building and owns the surrounding Three Lynx houses.

After months of intensive negotiations, the school district has removed storage items from the property, cleaned the site and put together a plan for demolishing the building this summer.

“What we've done is put together a timeline for (asbestos) abatement and demolition unless someone comes along and wants to buy it in the meantime,” said Gary Lewis, operations manager for the Estacada school district.

Removal of hazardous materials and underground storage tanks along with demolition of the buildings are scheduled to be completed by the end of June 2014.

Land restoration and historic preservation efforts will likely continue through September.

Joy Woodcock, special uses administrator for the Mt. Hood National Forest, said that the Forest Service is pleased with the district's efforts to clean the Three Lynx site so far.

Although the district's special use permit for the Three Lynx site has expired, Woodcock plans to award the district an “encroachment permit” so that they may continue to work toward demolition without a fine.

Woodcock said that it is highly unlikely that building will be purchased.

“We researched that line for so many years and no one came forward. That's why it didn't factor into planning,” she said.

The buyer would have to demonstrate financial and technical capability of restoring the buildings to their original purpose as a school.

Or they’d have to be granted another special-use permit after presenting a feasible business plan and financial and technical capability of using the buildings for a purpose that comply with the Forest Service’s regulations and mission.

Either project would be hugely expensive for the buyer.

So, according to forest service and school district personnel, the Three Lynx school buildings' demolition seems inevitable.

“Unless you've got Bill Gates in your pocket,” Woodcock said.