Representative Brad Witt and Senator Betsy Johnson have teamed up to deliver $212,500 for the Vernonia School District to support the final fundraising efforts for the relocation and construction of the Vernonia Schools.
Witt (D-Clatskanie) and Johnson (D-Scappoose) worked with House and Senate leadership to win approval of the grant in a unanimous vote of the 20-member Legislative Emergency Board. Funding for the grant will come from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management’s Local Disaster Assistance Loan and Grant Account.
“This grant is an investment in Vernonia’s future,” Witt said. “It will allow this remarkable community to move ahead with the amazing fund-raising effort that literally began before the flood waters in Vernonia receded seven years ago.”
Serious flooding in December 2007 destroyed the Vernonia’s schools. A replacement K-12 school facility, built on higher ground, opened in 2012. The $40 million school project was funded by private donations, local, state and federal funds. A small amount remains to be raised. With the recent help from the Legislature and continuing private philanthropy, the goal of “closing the books” is within sight.
“Vernonia’s resilience and resolve continues to serve as shining example of the true meaning of community. I am proud of Vernonia and happy that I could team up with Representative Witt to provide some of the remaining pieces of funding for the schools,” said Johnson, who carried the request before the full Emergency Board Wednesday morning.
In addition to winning approval of the most recent state grant, Witt has worked recently with Portland Community College to secure new computers for the school and Johnson has worked with city leaders on completing the fund raising.