Catlin Gabel School

The Catlin Gabel School is an independent preschool through 12th grade institution located on 67 acres in Portland, Oregon 5 miles west of downtown.[7] Annual enrollment is approximately 780 students from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds, and financial abilities across the Portland metro area. The school’s educational philosophy is founded on the four principles of progressive education (inquiry based, educating for democracy, teaching the whole child, and experiential learning).

Catlin Gabel School
Catlin Gabel blue logo.png
8825 SW Barnes Road


Coordinates45°30′35″N 122°46′03″W / 45.509819°N 122.767373°W / 45.509819; -122.767373Coordinates: 45°30′35″N 122°46′03″W / 45.509819°N 122.767373°W / 45.509819; -122.767373
TypeIndependent private
HeadTim Bazemore
Enrollment760[2] (2014)
Student to teacher ratio6.3:1[2]
CampusSuburban, 67 acres (27 ha)
Color(s)Royal blue and white   [3]
Athletics conferenceOSAA Lewis & Clark League 3A-1[3]
RivalOregon Episcopal School
Annual tuition$29,700 (preschool and kindergarten) to $37,025 (high school)[5][6]
Catlin Gabel School barn in the fall - Portland Oregon.jpg
Upper School Walkway
Catlin Gabel Commons during Snow.jpg
The quad during a snowfall


With roots that go back to 1859, the school was formed by the 1957 merger between the Catlin Hillside School (founded in 1911 as Miss Catlin's School, named after the founder Ruth Catlin) and the Gabel Country Day School (originating as the Portland Academy, named after founder Priscilla Gabel).[8] The school had initially hoped to expand onto the Gabel school property, but lost it to eminent domain. Since the Catlin property was too small to support the school, Catlin Gabel purchased the Honey Hollow Farm in 1958, relocating the Upper School there in the fall. Nine years later, the Middle School relocated there, followed by the Lower School a year later, in 1968. The school sold the Catlin Hillside buildings to the Portland Art Museum for its art school. The buildings were later converted to a community center for the Hillside neighborhood.[9]

Catlin Gabel received a $3.8 million bequest from Howard Vollum (co-founder of Tektronix) in the late 1980s, growing the school’s endowment.[10] In 2005, the Malone Family Foundationendowed Catlin Gabel with a $2 million grant for financial aid under its Malone Scholars Program.[11]


As of the 2020-2021 school year, there were 780 students.[12] The student body is divided into three groups: Upper School (grades 9–12), Middle School (grades 6–8), and Beginning and Lower School (preschool–grade 5).[13]

In each of the last four years, (2017-20), a Catlin Gabel student has been named a U.S. Presidential Scholar, a recognition given each year to 161 high school seniors nationally for their accomplishments.[14][15][16][17]


Catlin Gabel is accredited by the Northwest Association of Independent Schools (NWAIS).

Science researchEdit

Catlin Gabel has a long history of science research competition success. Over the years, many students have placed highly in competitions such as the Intel Science Talent Search, the Siemens Competition, the Davidson Fellows Scholarship, and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.[18][19][20]

As of 2020, school review website Niche ranks Catlin Gabel as the number one best overall private high school and number one best high school for STEM in the state of Oregon.[21]


Catlin Gabel has operated a team in the FIRST Robotics Competition since 2005, called "The Flaming Chickens". The team has consistently qualified for the FIRST World Championships competition almost every year.[22]

Catlin Gabel has been a successful participant in the Oregon Mock Trial competition, and has often gone to the national competition.[23]


Catlin Gabel's traditional rival in athletics is the Oregon Episcopal School.[24] The Middle School fields teams of soccer, volleyball, cross-country, basketball, and track. The Upper School competes in soccer, cross-country, basketball, baseball, track, golf, swimming, skiing, women's volleyball, and tennis. The CGS Eagles are currently ranked #1 in the state for both boys and girls soccer.[25][26]


All grades include an aspect of environmental and social sustainability.[27] Grades one through five student projects include a worm farm and seedling starts for the campus garden. Middle school students research studies on topics including obesity, agribusiness, the global food supply-chain and the carbon footprint of food. The Upper school’s PLACE Program (Planning and Leadership Across City Environments) uses urban planning to study sustainability.[27]

Since 2007, the school has instituted food services programs such as switching to washable dinnerware in the cafeteria and sourcing food from local farms within 150 miles radius.[27] Within one year the school reduced its landfill contributions by 32.49 tons, and in 2016, after realizing that their recycled plastic was making its way to landfills, two students convinced the school to stop selling bottled water.[28] In 2020, students and community partners removed 25 truckloads of invasive species from 2.5 acres of school property and planted over 2,000 native shrubs and trees.[29]

School traditionsEdit

Some of the early traditions at Catlin Gabel School included the beginning-of-the-year “Bacon Bat” picnic. Bacon Bat is an event involving games, competitions and a cookout with the intention of building school spirit.[30]

The first “Clean-Up Day” took place in 1937, and the school has continued that tradition since. Though the name of this tradition has been renamed to Campus Day, the central idea of taking care of the school's campus is still at the heart of it.

Additionally, in 1931 students first performed “St. George and the Dragon,” a tradition which has been going on since.[31]

One of the most common traditions has been the recitation of the School Chapter, a tradition dating back to 1935 for ninth graders to memorize I Corinthians 13 in their English 9 classes.[32]

The school's Annual Rummage Sale began during World War II and ran for 65 years, with the first event raising over $8,000. The event grew so large it was eventually moved to the Portland Expo Center. The last event was held in 2009.[33][34][30]

Faculty sexual assault and misconduct allegationsEdit

Beginning in 2017, several former students began writing about sexual abuse by faculty on social media. Coinciding with the Me Too movement, the number of accounts increased, prompting the school to commission an investigation in October 2019.[35]

The investigation issued a report on November 11, 2019. It found that at least 21 Catlin Gabel faculty had taken advantage of their positions at the school in committing various degrees of sexual impropriety. This ranged from the rape of a 6th grade minor to generally inappropriate behavior and relationships between faculty and students that went back as early as the 1960s and was recorded occurring as recently as 2016.[36] In December 2019, the Washington County Sheriff's Department opened a criminal investigation of the school.[37] In January 2020, The Oregonian documented allegations by over 15 former students from age 21 to 61.[35] Six more former students sued the school in April 2020 saying they were fondled, groped, and sexually abused by former teachers Richardson Shoemaker, Robert Ashe, Art Leo and Sam Crawley.[38] A total of 16 former students have filed suit against Catlin Gabel.[39]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Oregon School Directory 2008-09" (PDF). Oregon Department of Education. p. 139. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-26. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Catlin Gabel School". National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Catlin Gabel". Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  4. ^[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Tuition and Financial Assistance". Catlin Gabel. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  6. ^ Crombie, Noelle (11 March 2021). "No charges in Catlin Gabel sex abuse scandal, Washington County DA concludes". The Oregonian.
  7. ^ "About Catlin Gabel". Catlin Gabel. Catlin Gabel School. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Ted Kaye. "Catlin Gabel School". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  9. ^ "Hillside Community Center". The City of Portland. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  10. ^ Ted Kaye. "Catlin Gabel School". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  11. ^ "Malone Scholars Program". Malone Family Foundation. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  12. ^ "About Catlin Gabel". Catlin Gabel. Catlin Gabel School. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Catlin Gabel Beginning and Lower School". Catlin Gabel. Catlin Gabel School. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  14. ^ "161 Students From Across the Country Named 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholars". U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  15. ^ "161 Students From Across the Country Named 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars". U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  16. ^ "161 Students from Across the Country Named 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars". U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  17. ^ "U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Names 161 Students as 2020 U.S. Presidential Scholars". U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Student among top 10 in science talent search". Pamplin Media Group. Pamplin Media Group. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Valerie Ding - Catlin Gabel - The Oregonian 2015 Academic Achievers". Oregon Live. The Oregonian. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Intel ISEF 2010 Grand Awards Ceremony" (PDF). Society for Science. Society for Science. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Explore Catlin Gabel School". Niche. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  22. ^ "Home". Team 1540 - The Flaming Chickens. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  23. ^ Allyn, Bobby (March 12, 2011). "Catlin Gabel School takes state mock trial title for second year; not all participants have attorney ambitions". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  24. ^ Toshio Suzuki (November 22, 2009). "OES edges rival Catlin Gabel for fourth title in five seasons". Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  25. ^ "OSAA - Activities". Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  26. ^ "OSAA - Activities". Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  27. ^ a b c Shawn, Eric (May 9, 2010). "Caitlin Gabel Food –– a focus on food". The Journal of Sustainability Education.
  28. ^ Marmion, Natali (June 1, 2016). "Kids doing good stuff: Banning the bottles at school to help the environment". KATU.
  29. ^ "Catlin Gabel Habitat Restoration". Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  30. ^ a b "A brief history of Catlin Gabel School and its traditions". CatlinSpeak. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  31. ^ "Art Performances". Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  32. ^ "Reflections on the School Chapter's relevance today as an evolving tradition". CatlinSpeak. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  33. ^ Kaye, Ted (April 19, 2019). "Catlin Gabel School". Oregon Encyclopedia. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  34. ^ Effinger, Anthony (November 28, 2020). "Tektronix Planted the Silicon Forest. Tami Newcombe Plans to Keep the Trees Growing". Willamette Week. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  35. ^ a b Manning, Jeff (January 11, 2020). "Catlin Gabel's dirty secret: Former students go public for first time about private school's dark side". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  37. ^ Manning, Jeff (December 20, 2019). "Catlin Gabel sex abuse scandal escalates as sheriff's office opens criminal investigation". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  38. ^ Oregonian/OregonLive, Jeff Manning | The (2020-04-29). "Six more former Catlin Gabel students claim they were sexually abused by their teachers". oregonlive. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  39. ^ "Six More Catlin Gabel Students File Lawsuits". KXL. 2020-04-30. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  40. ^ "Portland Rites Of Interest". Statesman Journal. Salem, Oregon. August 9, 1945. p. 6 – via
  41. ^ "Advice to the Class of 2018". Catlin Gabel. Retrieved 23 June 2020.

External linksEdit