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Preserve GHS facade for future generations

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Kudos to Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, Mike McKeel, the Dwyre family and Centennial Little League.

FILE PHOTO - Publisher Steve BrownKUDOS to Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis and Mike McKeel, a member of the city design commission, for sounding the alarm on plans to demolish the front facade of Gresham High School.

This is a much-needed message that should be taken seriously by the Gresham-Barlow School Board and the district's administration.

We all knew that passage of the Gresham-Barlow bond measure would lead to wrecking balls at the high school, but somewhere in the conversation we thought there was serious intent to preserve the front facade for future generations.

As plans take shape, we think it's important to remember that decisions made today will have ramifications for future generations, potentially destroying a piece of historic architecture that can never be replaced.

The front facade of Gresham High School takes us back to a poignant moment in our U.S. history when President Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the New Deal, a series of programs designed to lift the U.S. out of the clutches of the Great Depression.

Among those programs was the Works Progress Administration, which provided funding for parks, bridges and schools all across America. One of those projects involved the construction of the existing facade of Gresham High School.

Buildings such as Gresham High School stand as historic artifacts of times long before most of us were born. I'd hate to see our community become a homogenized blend of boring modern architecture, which frankly lacks much sense of artistic flair.

I recall a situation in another community where an effort was launched to build a new city hall/library at the site of a shuttered middle school. In that situation, the people in that community felt such deep connection to the old school that they willingly spent more money on its remodel, rather than had it been demolished and replaced at a lesser cost.

I think that situation may be repeating itself in Gresham.

The Gresham-Barlow School Board and administration should work closely with their architects to arrive at a design that protects the school's front facade from the wrecking ball, and that incorporates that facade into a fully modern school on the inside.

Good Luck, Dwyre family

KUDOS to the Dwyre family of Sandy, which has become new owners of Ashley's Swiss Village along Highway 26 between Sandy and Gresham. We wish you good luck in turning this spot into a thriving business enterprise.

Some of us of "a certain age" remember stops with mom and dad for ice cream at the Swiss Village, usually on our return trips from camping on Mount Hood. A ride on the railroad was always a must.

Those pit stops were a thing of the past by the 1980s, and we've watched as the property has languished in recent years. With renewed optimism, we're looking forward to seeing what becomes of the property in the months and years ahead.

Better choice for raffle prize

KUDOS to the Centennial Little League for putting up a 16-foot McKenzie River drift boat as the big prize in this year's fundraising raffle. Not only is this a beautifully handcrafted boat, but it's also an appropriate prize.

Though there was nothing legally or ethically wrong with putting up an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle as the prize in last year's auction, it did come across as more than a little weird when put along side a fundraiser for youth sports.

We guess there's nothing stopping the Centennial Little League from going down the AR road again in the future, but we hope their success this year will show they can be successful in other ways.