By RYLIE YOUNG – 08/03/18
On August 13th, at approximately 2 am, the Oregon City Police Department and Clackamas Fire arrived at Park Place Elementary to find the school’s playground engulfed in flames. The fire was contained and put out quickly.
However, it wasn’t before an estimated $15,000 worth of playground equipment was burned, along with two picnic benches. After further investigation, the authorities discovered the park was purposely set on fire and claim it is arson.
Several hours later, the perpetrator— a 14 year old boy who lives in the neighborhood, not a student here— was taken into custody. He committed second-degree arson, and first-degree criminal mischief, both class C felonies. The teen had several hearings this month, and a trial set for the end of November.
According to our principal, Seanna Bloemer, our school does not plan on pressing charges. However, Victims Assistance in Clackamas County, has reached out to Seanna to see if she is interested. Victims assistance is looking to help the juvenile make amends with our school and the community.
“…I could see him giving back by providing service somehow like litter patrol, or keeping up, you know, gardening. Something that would give back to our school that’s not necessarily monetary, but it’s time. Not only give to our school directly but it’s part of our community; there’s a local park he could work at too just because it’s our whole community that’s been impacted by it,” says Seanna Bloemer on what will happen to the perpetrator.
The playground itself belongs to the Oregon City school district, but the picnic tables and bench are Alliance Charter Academy property. At this time, we have not gotten a timeline from the district for the playground replacement. However, ACA is accepting donations to help pay for the tables and bench. “These will be ordered once we have all the needed funds and the playground is accessible for installation,” said Seanna in September 30th’s newsletter.
With Alliance Charter Academy being a K-12 school, many kids have grown up here. There’s no doubt that kids would be upset about the playground being burned down. Miriam Lee, a student who has been attending ACA since it first moved into the Park Place building, and a grounders professional says:
“That playground is my childhood, I have tons of great memories involving the play structure, and to see it burnt down so abruptly is just sad. I can no longer play grounders, and just hang out. It sucks.”
Bloemer, Seanna. Personal Interview. September 5th and 22nd, 2018.
Lee, Miriam. Personal Interview. September 30th, 2018.
Wright, Kerry. Personal Interview. October 2nd, 2018.