Oregon School for the Blind

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oregon School for the Blind
Howard Hall in 2015.JPG
Howard Hall, part of the Oregon School for the Blind, a week before demolition
700 Church Street SE
Salem, Oregon, Marion County 97301
Coordinates 44°55′56″N 123°02′14″W / 44.932342°N 123.037318°W / 44.932342; -123.037318Coordinates: 44°55′56″N 123°02′14″W / 44.932342°N 123.037318°W / 44.932342; -123.037318[1]
Type public/blind
Founded 1872
Opened 1873
Closed 2009
Grades K-12
Number of students 46[2]

The Oregon School for the Blind (OSB), was a state-run public school in Salem, Oregon, United States, serving blind and vision impaired students of kindergarten through high school grades through residential, day school, and part-time enrollment programs.[3][4] Opened in 1873, the school was operated by the Oregon Department of Education. The school's closure in 2009 had been the culmination of several years of contentious debate that continued after the closure when lawsuits were filed concerning the sale of the campus.


Established in 1872 by the Oregon Legislative Assembly as the Institute for the Blind, the school was to provide free public education to blind children.[3][4] The next year the school opened on February 26, and its first classes were held in a private home.[3][4] In 1881, former Portland mayor Henry Failing donated land to build the school.[5]

In 2005, by order of the state legislature, a study was begun on the potential benefit of moving the school to the Oregon School for the Deaf campus.[6]

The 2009 Oregon legislature eliminated funding for the OSB, with plans to sell the property.[7] OSB closed in July 2009 with the 8.33-acre (3.37 ha) site set to be put up for sale in May 2010.[7][8] However, a group composed of opponents of the school closure and Failing's heirs are suing the State to prevent it from selling the property.[5] Salem Hospital, Willamette University, and Western Oregon University all expressed interest in acquiring the land.[9]

In March 2010, the legislature passed a law that allocated half the proceeds from the sale of the former school site to educating blind students in Oregon.[10] The other half of the funds are to go towards improvements at the Oregon School for the Deaf's campus.[10][11] The law settled the lawsuits filed against the state from the descendants of the land donors,[11] and the campus was sold to Salem Hospital for $6 million in August 2010.[12]

Salem Hospital demolished the last remaining historic school building, the John V. Bennes-designed Howard Hall, in 2015.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oregon School for the Blind". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1993-09-01. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  2. ^ "Per-Grade Statistics for Oregon School for The Blind". School Tree. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Oregon State School for the Blind". Salem Online History. Salem Public Library. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-27. 
  4. ^ a b c "Special Education". Oregon Blue Book (Online). Oregon Secretary of State. 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  5. ^ a b Manning, Rob (August 21, 2009). "School For The Blind Supporters Trying New Legal Tactic". Oregon Public Broadcasting. 
  6. ^ Hays, Kevin (June 10, 2006). "State Seeks Comment on Combining Salem-Based Schools for Deaf, Blind". Salem-News.com. Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  7. ^ a b Hammond, Betsy (June 10, 2009). "Vote closes Oregon School for the Blind". The Oregonian. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Lund-Muzikant, Diane (February 18, 2010). "Oregon School for the Blind is Going on the Market". The Lund Report. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Liao, Ruth (February 23, 2010). "'For sale' sign might appear soon at Oregon School for the Blind". Statesman Journal. Retrieved 10 March 2010. [dead link]
  10. ^ a b Currie, Don (March 12, 2010). "Proceeds from school sale to help students". Statesman Journal. Retrieved 8 April 2010. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Clinic Students Help Win Favorable Decision for Oregon Schools". College of Law News. Willamette University College of Law. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Jung, Helen (August 10, 2010). "Salem Hospital will pay $6 million for Oregon School for the Blind, plans parking lot for part of site". The Oregonian. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  13. ^ Rose, Michael (September 4, 2014). "City's Howard Hall Demo Decision Appealed to State Board". Statesman Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  14. ^ Soo, Saerom (February 6, 2015). "Howard Hall Demolition Begins". Statesman Journal. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 

External links[edit]