Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Cloudy

64°F

Portland

Cloudy

Humidity: 80%

Wind: 6 mph

  • 30 Aug 2014

    Showers 73°F 57°F

  • 31 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 75°F 56°F


Woodburn district sees no sign of relief from insurance company

The Woodburn School District is still waiting for insurance to come through so it can start rebuilding the part of Woodburn High School affected by a May 11 fire, but in the meantime, the district has received some good news.

Last week, Adjusters International, the independent adjusters hired by the district, completed their final inventory of all loss to the district, determining that the district lost about $1.7 million.

“This is a huge piece; we’d never have been able to do this ourselves with all the work involved,” said Patricia Ramirez, director of human resources and operations. “They’ve been working on this for months and months. Now that we’ve got this piece together, we’re moving forward.”

This does not include personal claims, such as students’ and teachers’ personal belongings, which are dealt with separately.

Unfortunately, people are still waiting to get their belongings back. At the same time, the insurance company still has not completely reimbursed the district so it can start rebuilding, and the district, desperate to get the ball rolling, has even hired a lawyer.

“We did that so if it goes to litigation, the lawyer will be informed of everything and will be good to go,” explained Ramirez.

Assessor Bruce Tibert recommended the district hire an attorney back in October, before the formal claim was even submitted to the insurance company, because he said the insurance was requiring an expensive appraisal that wasn’t part of the contract.

The district’s primary insurance company is PACE, but that only provides $500,000 to the district and $250,000 in personal claims. Since the damages cost beyond that, PACE’s insurance, Lexington Insurance, is supposed to pick up the rest.

“They basically need to prove that what we claimed was part of the fire actually was,” Ramirez explained.

“So we have a lawyer in place in case they don’t move along.”

The district has received $2.5 million in the meantime from insurance as an advance, but that money — and then some — has already been used up to put the 10 new modulars in place on the Woodburn High School campus as well as restoring certain classroom materials. Classrooms that have been moved to the modulars as a result of the fire include band, choir and an art class.

In the meantime, many hallways, classrooms and offices are missing carpet and wall siding, while the chunk of the north side of the high school is fenced off to foot traffic.

Ramirez said it has been overwhelming dealing with multiple agencies, and the district couldn’t have done it without Adjusters International. She made a point to reach out to officials at Evergreen School District in Vancouver, Wash., which just lost an elementary school, Crestline Elementary, to a fire less than two weeks ago.

“I felt I should give them a heads up on what they need to know as they deal with that,” Ramirez said.

While the process has been discouraging, Ramirez said things are looking up with the Adjusters International inventory being completed.

“I feel confident that we’re working together and we’ll get there,” she said.