Historic Review Board to Consider Demolition of Carus School Building

The Canby School District has applied to Clackamas County to demolish the historic White Building, a historic schoolhouse located on the grounds of Carus Elementary School at the corner of Carus Road and Highway 213.

Since last October, the school district has sought to sell the building for the bargain price of $1 β€” with the understanding that the buyer would assume the costs of removing and relocating the structure by March 2023.

The project is part of planned work at the Carus Elementary School campus made possible through the $75 million capital improvement bond the district’s voters approved in May 2020.

Photos courtesy the Canby School District.

The district intends to use the additional space to change traffic and parking patterns on the Carus Elementary School site to improve traffic safety on school grounds and at the adjacent intersection.

As an alternative, the school district has also asked the Clackamas County Historic Review Board to approve demolishing the building to ensure the district can move forward with its plans in the event that a buyer cannot be found.

The Clackamas County Historic Review Board will consider the application and make a recommendation at a Zoom meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, December 8. The public is welcome to attend remotely and participate in the public comment portion of the meeting.

Photos courtesy the Canby School District.

The two-story, 4,720-square-foot building, deeded to Clackamas School District No. 29 in 1885 by Isaac and Constance Farr, was completed in the Craftsman style.

It includes lap siding, exposed rafters, purlins and brackets, wood double-hung windows, a gabled porch with enclosed balustrade and decorative truss, and a main entry paneled with transom and sidelights.

The White Building has served the Carus area as a schoolhouse, meeting hall, community center and Sunday school for the Methodist Church over the decades. It was used as a school until the 1970s, and as administrative offices until the early 2000s.

Photos courtesy the Canby School District.

It was one of only two schools in the Oregon City/Beavercreek area that dates to the Motor Age (1914 to 1940) and was noted for the high quality of its design and construction β€” which was unusual for non-residential properties built in that period.

It was left vacant in 2005, and the front entry was gated off and the rear staircase was removed in 2018. The White Building is on the list of designated historical sites for both the state and Clackamas County.

The building’s location on the site and separation from the main school building prevents it from meeting safety, ADA, seismic and other requirements for a public school. With the proposed demolition, aspects of the building will be retained, including artifacts such as the exterior sign.

For more information, contact the county at pio@clackamas.us.

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