Roosevelt High School (Oregon)

Roosevelt High School is a public high school in Portland, Oregon, United States.

Roosevelt High School
Roosevelt High School (Oregon) logo.gif
North Portland, Oregon (2019) - 187.jpg
The school's front exterior in 2019
6941 North Central Street


United States
Coordinates45°35′22″N 122°44′17″W / 45.589407°N 122.738147°W / 45.589407; -122.738147Coordinates: 45°35′22″N 122°44′17″W / 45.589407°N 122.738147°W / 45.589407; -122.738147
School districtPortland Public Schools
PrincipalKD Parman[1]
Enrollment859[4] (2017–18)
Color(s)Black and gold   [3]
Athletics conferenceOSAA Portland Interscholastic League 6A[3]


Roosevelt High School opened in the St. Johns neighborhood of Portland in 1922 as a replacement for James John High School.[5][6] James John High School – named after James John, the founder of the St. Johns settlement – was constructed in 1911 when St. Johns was still a separate city from Portland. The school became a part of Portland Public Schools after St. Johns was annexed to Portland in 1915.[7] James John High School was temporarily closed in 1920 due to safety concerns,[8] and the Portland school board decided to rebuild the school at a new location.[9] The new school was initially intended to be named after its predecessor,[10] but received its current name in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had died in 1919.

Roosevelt High School was dedicated in June 1922, with efforts being made to complete its construction in time for the school's opening in September. The building, which was modelled after the design of Franklin High School, had 24 rooms and a capacity of 1,200 students. While James John only had an enrollment of 400 students in its final year, enrollment at Roosevelt was expected to be much higher as it would be taking surplus students from Jefferson and Lincoln high schools.[11] A 1922 St. Johns Review article called for the streets surrounding Roosevelt High School to be paved so that fire trucks and other vehicles would be able to access the school more easily.[12]

During the late 1940s, a wave of new students began to enter the Portland school system as a result of the post-war baby boom. In response, voters approved a $25 million building levy in 1947 with the goal of constructing, renovating, and expanding schools across Portland.[13] Roosevelt, in particular, was described as Portland's "worst crowded high school" in 1950, with needs including the completion of a wing already under construction and the addition of a new gymnasium.[14]

In 1992, Roosevelt became one of six Oregon high schools to pilot a school-to-work training program described by The New York Times as "one of the most aggressive efforts in the country to address shortcomings in job training." The program required sophomores to choose one of six career tracks and emphasized career-related applications in academic course work. The program was praised by some, who cited Roosevelt's lower dropout rate once the program was implemented, but criticized by others, who argued that it forced students to make career decisions at too young of an age.[15]

In 2004, Roosevelt was split into 3 small schools: the Pursuit Of Wellness Education at Roosevelt (POWER), the Spanish-English International School (SEIS), and the Arts, Communication, and Technology School (ACT).[16][17] Each small school focused on certain academics and career related pathways. POWER focused on math and science, SEIS focused on language immersion, and ACT offered courses in fine, visual, and performing arts. The rationale behind the split was to improve academic achievement by allowing teachers and students to interact in a more intimate and specialized environment.[18]

Roosevelt received a $7.7 million federal grant in the summer of 2010 to improve school conditions and to return the school to a comprehensive campus by 2012.[19][20][21] This was done to promote diversity in the classrooms and unite the school budget.

Exterior of the added wing, 2019

Roosevelt began a modernization process in 2015 as part of a $482 million bond measure aimed at improving schools across Portland.[22] The project included a new wing for the school – with a community center, gymnasium, and commons area, among other additions – and renovations to the original 1921 structure. The modernization project was praised by the Business Tribune, which cited its "intertwining benefits of seismic stabilization, historic preservation and improved learning environments".[23] Renovations to the historic 1921 building were completed in 2017.[24]

School profileEdit

In the 2017–2018 school year, Roosevelt's student population was 37.4% Hispanic, 28.6% White, 18.3% African American, 4.2% Asian, 2.9% Pacific Islander, 1.3% Native American, and 7.3% mixed race.[4] In 2017, 73% of Roosevelt's seniors graduated on time out of a class size of 274.[25]

Roosevelt is one of the smallest high schools in Portland Public Schools.[26]

Notable alumniEdit

  • James Allen, (Class of 1946) - Pioneer of early Portland Television. Jim Created and played the role of “Rusty Nails” for a generation of Portland children from 1957-1972. His character became the inspiration for “Crusty the Clown” on The Simpsons.
  • Carolyn Davidson, (Class of 1960) - Designer of the Nike Corporation’s trademark “Swoosh”.
  • Kenneth E. BeLieu, (Class of 1933) – Served in World War II and the Korean War. Fought in the Invasion of Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Western Allied invasion of Germany. Served presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon in a variety of Department of Defense assignments ultimately becoming Under Secretary of the Army (1971-1973).
  • Anna Peterson, - Served as Mayor of Salem, the state capital of Oregon, from 2011 until 2016.[27]
  • Illmaculate – (AKA Gregory Poe) Battle rapper and hip hop artist from St. Johns, Portland, Oregon
  • Robert Robideau, - Member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and participant in the Wounded Knee incident.[28]
  • Mike Schrunk, Multnomah County District Attorney
  • Terry Schrunk, (Class of 1932) - Firefighter, Multnomah County (Oregon) Sheriff and One of Portland Oregon’s Longest Serving Mayors From 1957-1972.
  • Pennie Lane Trumbull, (Class of 1972) - Socialite, philanthropist, businesswoman, and entrepreneur. Her time as a band promoter was chronicled in the 2000 film Almost Famous where she was portrayed by actress Kate Hudson.[29]
  • Len Younce, (Class of 1936) – Played football at Oregon State University and for 10 years with the New York Giants - Named to the NFL’s “All 1940’s Team”- Coached for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League.[30]

Roosevelt High in the MediaEdit

  • Steeletown (1979)

TV Movie-Roosevelt used as one location for film that portrayed a fictional blue-collar town in Pennsylvania.

  • ESPN Outside the Lines (OTL) - Friday Night Lite (2009)

Story about Roughriders football in a time of changing demographics.

  • UnDivided (2013)

Documentary about innovative ways to marshall resources to aid Roosevelt students and the St Johns community.


  1. ^ Joe LaFountaine (April 21, 2019). "Announcing new principal at Roosevelt, KD Parman" (PDF). PPS. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  2. ^ "Oregon School Directory 2018–19" (PDF). Oregon Department of Education. p. 69. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-10-14.
  3. ^ a b c "Roosevelt High School". Oregon School Activities Association. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  4. ^ a b "School Profiles & Enrollment Data 2017–2018" (PDF). Portland Public Schools. p. 265. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  5. ^ Polich 1950, p. 96.
  6. ^ "Roosevelt High School: About Us". Portland Public Schools. Archived from the original on 2017-09-03.
  7. ^ Polich 1950, p. 82.
  8. ^ "James John High School Building Will be Made Safe by October 15". The Oregonian. September 5, 1920. p. 14.
  9. ^ "44 Teacher Named to Fill Vacancies". The Oregonian. September 2, 1920. p. 6.
  10. ^ See, for example, this 1921 Oregonian article that refers to the present day Roosevelt High School as "the new James John high school". "James John Site Picked By Board". The Oregonian. February 11, 1921. p. 4.
  11. ^ "City Dedicates New High School". The Oregonian. June 25, 1922. p. 1.
  12. ^ "The Best Part of Portland". The St. Johns Review. September 22, 1922.
  13. ^ Polich 1950, pp. 158–159.
  14. ^ Polich 1950, p. 160.
  15. ^ "Beyond Auto Shop: An Experiment in High School Job Training". The New York Times. March 9, 1994. p. B9.
  16. ^ Paige Parker (June 15, 2004). "Board Approves Splitting Schools". The Oregonian. p. B03.
  17. ^ Betsy Hammond (December 18, 2010). "Can Portland's Roosevelt High turn itself around? New focus on great teaching raises hopes". OregonLive. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  18. ^ Paige Parker; Steven Carter (May 9, 2004). "Two More Schools Will Become Many". The Oregonian. p. B01.
  19. ^ Betsy Hammond (July 7, 2010). "Portland's Roosevelt High gets $7.7 million to propel a turnaround". OregonLive. Retrieved 2017-11-20.
  20. ^ Amelia Templeton (July 8, 2010). "Federal Money Will Help Several Struggling Oregon Schools". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 2017-11-25.
  21. ^ "Roosevelt's Fighting Chance". The Oregonian. July 9, 2010.
  22. ^ "Roosevelt High School School Building Improvement Bond Project – Frequently Asked Questions October 2016" (PDF). Portland Public Schools. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  23. ^ Brian Libby (September 21, 2016). "Roosevelt and a New Deal for Portland schools". Business Tribune. Pamplin Media Group. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  24. ^ "Roosevelt Modernization – Construction Update: Fall 2017" (PDF). Portland Public Schools. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  25. ^ "Roosevelt High School :: Schools Guide - The Oregonian". Archived from the original on 2018-01-26.
  26. ^ In the 2017–2018 school year, only Jefferson High School had lower enrollment. See "School Profiles & Enrollment Data 2017–2018" (PDF). Portland Public Schools. p. 10. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  27. ^ "Salem Mayor Candidate Profile: Anna Peterson". Statesman Journal. Salem, Oregon. March 24, 2010. p. 2.
  28. ^ "American Indian activist Robideau dies at 61". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. February 20, 2009. Retrieved 2017-11-27.
  29. ^ Ana Ammann; Ann Lasocki (September 7, 2012). "Will the real Penny Lane please stand up?". Oregon Music News. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  30. ^ "Grid great Younce dies". Oregon Stater. Vol. 85 no. 2. Oregon State University. September 2000. p. 51.


External linksEdit

  Media related to Roosevelt High School (Portland, Oregon) at Wikimedia Commons