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  • Oregon school shooting: As Reynolds High returns, survivors of other shootings advise patience, kindness, awareness

    Principals who have survived shootings elsewhere say Reynolds students, teachers, staff and parents should prepare themselves for a long recovery process -- and look out for each other every day.

    Frank DeAngelis has sobering news for parents, students and staff preparing for a new year at Reynolds High School: This is the beginning of the grieving process, not the end.

    "The piece of advice I have given everyone after an incident like this – after Sandy Hook, after Virginia Tech, after Chardon – is that you're not going to wake up one morning and discover that everything has gone back to normal," said DeAngelis, who retired this summer after 18 years as principal at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. "You're never going back to normal. There is no normal now. It's up to you and your community to define a new normal."

    Reynolds students go back to school next week less than two months after a freshman killed 14-year-old classmate Emilio Hoffman, wounded a teacher and shot himself. Administrators at the Troutdale school, Oregon's second-largest high school, have spent the summer trying to make the return as stress-free as possible: They hosted a tech fair that doubled as a chance for counselors to begin identifying and talking to students who might need extra emotional support. On Wednesday, they let students tour the newly renovated gymnasium complex, where the June 10 shootings occurred.

    "Schools are a wonderful place to work because you have this opportunity annually to renew yourself," said Chip Dumais, who was principal at the high school in Newtown, Conn., almost two years ago when a gunman killed 20 students at one of its feeder schools, Sandy Hook Elementary. "A lot of people here felt that the normal reset would happen over the summer. But it didn't. It couldn't. The school year starting doesn't mean the same thing after something like that."

    Perhaps no one in the Portland area understands the challenge facing Reynolds leaders as well as Larry Bentz, the former principal at Springfield's Thurston High School. Bentz was on duty May 21, 1998, when Kip Kinkel killed two classmates and wounded 24 others. Bentz moved to the Portland area a few years after that and was principal at Gresham's Springwater Trail High in 2007 when a student shot up two classrooms, with injuries caused by flying glass. He lived about a mile from Reynolds when the shooting occurred this summer and the children of close friends are students there. 

    "It never goes away. Never. Things always bring it up," he said. "The challenge is to let it become part of you, let it become part of the school, but not let it dictate the rest of your life. That's a tricky balance."

    CJ.Thurstonshoot.11.rk.5-21A staff member helps a student leave school after the 1998 shootings at Springfield's Thurston High School. "Everybody is going to process this at their own pace," former Thurston principal Larry Bentz says. "It's not going to all be over soon." 

    At Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, principal Andy Fetchik and his staff opted to avoid prominent memorials or to radically remake the cafeteria where a 17-year-old student shot and killed three classmates in February 2012. The school office was flooded with cards, letters, flowers, teddy bears and blankets, far more than students and staff could use. They sorted through the gifts, archived them and then made a conscious choice not to incorporate them into a permanent memorial.

    "As wonderful as a memorial would probably be to a lot of people, it would still be a reminder that something awful happened here," Fetchik said. "Putting that in a teenager's face every day, that wouldn't be healthy."

    Instead, Fetchik and his teachers tried to channel the urge to honor victims into community outreach with days of service and other volunteer work. Those efforts continue today. "Every high school has a service component these days, but I think it means something really special to our kids," he said. "They know how quickly everything can be taken away."

    Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement in Philadelphia, said it's important to separate the process of recovering from trauma from the process of grieving the loss of a friend, classmate or student. Minimizing reminders of the violence is important; minimizing reminders of those lost can be a mistake.

    "I can think of one very high-profile school shooting where, when the yearbook came out, they had removed the pictures of everyone who had died," he said. "They were trying to reduce the trauma reminders, but you're supposed to be reminded of the people who died. That's part of bereavement."

    Channeling the energy that can follow a tragedy into something permanent is difficult and requires sustained, long-term effort, Schonfeld said. He consulted at one school where a shooting resulted in a year or two of volunteerism, anti-bullying work and good feelings. Then the students directly impacted by the violence graduated, and things changed.

    "The teachers complained that the kids were just like they'd used to be before the shooting," he said. "My response was, 'So they're back to being regular kids?' And they said, 'Yes, that's the problem. For a while we thought we could make some good come out of this horrible tragedy, and now we realize it's just a horrible tragedy.'"

    Preparing for students to return means focusing as much on small details as big ones. Every person responds to trauma differently. Part of finding that "new normal" is identifying and minimizing potential triggers.

    "On the day of the shooting, a lot of our kids were headed to lunch, and the cafeteria was serving Chinese food. So we had to make sure not to serve Chinese food any more," DeAngelis said. "I had to go in over the summer and listen to various fire alarms to replace our old one, because we'd had kids who were locked in that building for two hours listening to the fire alarm while they waited to maybe die."

    BACK TO COLUMBINEStudents returning to school at Columbine High School for the first time since gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher. "You're not going to forget," said former Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis.  

    In some ways, students respond and recover faster than teachers and staff, Fetchik and the other principals said. They're inured to the possibility of violence on campus in a way that adults are not. They've grown up in a world in which the sight of children doing what DeAngelis calls "the Columbine march," – escaping a school building in the company of police officers, walking single file, hands up or on their heads – is heartbreakingly familiar.

    "I don't think that means the kids are callous, but they are just more matter of fact about it than adults, particularly people in their 40s and above," Bentz said. "We didn't grow up thinking that kind of violence is the norm."

    That reality leads to another tip for adults in the Reynolds community: Take care of each other. Students will move on to college or work. Teachers and staff will stay.

    "We were not prepared for what was basically post-traumatic stress disorder among the staff," Fetchik said. "We planned so much for how to help the kids, how to identify kids at risk, how to make sure every child had the support and attention they needed. Teachers are so focused on their students that they forget about their own grieving process."

    "It's amazing how many teachers we had who came up to me and said, 'During the summer, I wasn't anxious, I wasn't nervous, I was fine, but as soon as I walked back into this building, my blood pressure went up, I got nauseous, I got faint,'" DeAngelis said.

    Within three years after the Columbine shootings, which in 1999 left 12 students and a teacher dead, all three of his assistant principals had moved to other jobs. "They couldn't stand to be in the building," he said. At the end of the 2013-14 school year, just 17 of the 150 Columbine staff from 1999 remained.

    "I had teachers who were doing extremely well but, all of a sudden at the 10-year commemoration, they're having the meltdown they never had before," he said "Last year, when Arapahoe occurred and when the shooting at your school occurred, we checked on each other. It wasn't anything big, just a lot of, 'Hey, how are you?' Teachers would walk by my office, I'd go by their classroom, we'd nod at each other or give a thumb's up. This is 15 years out, and we're all still part of this sad club none of us volunteered to join."

    Members of that club look out for each other, and greet new members with advice and support. Shortly after Columbine, DeAngelis received a call from the principal at Heath High School in West Paducah, Ky., where a 14-year-old boy killed three students and injured five more two years before the Colorado shootings. Now DeAngelis makes his own call to principals at other schools where violent incidents occur. He called Fetchik after the Chardon shooting. Fetchik, in turn, spent some time on the phone with Dumais about a year after the Newtown killings. Bentz and DeAngelis have both called Reynolds.

    "Bill Bond from Paducah called to say, 'Here's what you can expect six months from now. Here's what you should look out for one year from now,' so that's what I tell other principals too," DeAngelis said. "'You're not going to remember this phone call, but please know that you can call me when you look up one day and realize that it's not over yet.

    "Call me then, and I'll remind you that there is hope, and that you will get though it, and that, as sad as this is to say, you're definitely not alone."   

    -- Anna Griffin

  • Oregon school shooting: Chardon High principal suggests public service as a way to recover

    Andy Fetchik knows what administrators and teachers at Reynolds High School face as they return to school next week, and he has some advice.

    Andy Fetchik is the principal at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio, a small town about 45 minutes east of Cleveland. On Feb. 26, 2012, a student at the school opened fire in the cafeteria, killing three classmates and wounding three others. I talked to Fetchik this week as part of a story about what members of the Reynolds High School community should expect as they return to school. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

    The shootings at Chardon were on a Monday. Administrators closed school Tuesday, because the campus was still considered a crime scene by police. Teachers returned on Wednesday and on Thursday, they welcomed students back to an open house.

    "If there's anything comforting to know, it's that kids are going to rally around each other. That happened organically. Before the open house, the kids met at our town square and walked to school together. That was them, just something they did on their own. A lot of the adults didn't even know about it until we saw the evening news that night. That was the first time that it seemed like we were going to be OK."

    The biggest piece of advice Fetchik has for Reynolds High leaders is to look out for their employees.

    "We were not prepared for what was basically post-traumatic stress disorder among the staff. We planned for how to help the kids, how to identify kids who were at risk, kids who would need extra support and attention. Our staff did a great job of taking care of the kids, but not always of taking care of themselves. That's to be expected, I guess, that teachers are so focused on their students that they forget about their own grieving process."

    Chardon administrators and teachers have worked to make volunteerism and community service a bigger, regular priority. That's both a way to help students and adults grieve -- giving them a mission -- and also to use something horrible to perhaps do some good.

    "We continue to celebrate the memory of those students every year, but we don't necessarily do memorials. The first year afterward, we had an all-student in service day. A service project, basically. Attendance wasn't mandatory but I think we had 85 to 90 percent of our students. People donated hundreds of blankets to us after the shooting, so many that we didn't know what to do with them. So we started a Project Linus club that is still ongoing. We also wrote letters to the victims' families. A year later, our students had procession back to the town square. We focused on this theme of reaching out. We still try to focus on that.

    "The hashtag '#oneheartbeat' became very popular on social media right after the shooting, so we still have some things around campus that reflect that heartbeat theme. But we do not have any kind of official physical memorial, and that's a conscious choice. As wonderful as a memorial would probably be to a lot of people, it would still be a reminder that something awful happened here. Putting that in a teenager's face every day, that isn't healthy. Maybe we'll do something later in town, but I don't think it should be on campus."

    Beyond painting the cafeteria walls, the school looks almost exactly the same today.

    "We had already been planning some security changes before it happened, so we have some upgraded cameras, new lockdown procedures, a fulltime school resource officer. But it's essentially the same. The cafeteria is essentially the same.

    "Immediately following, we had some kids who had some difficulty going back in there. But we're a school of 1,100 with no auditorium. That's the space we use for everything, pretty much. One of my big fears that first day, at the open house, was that kids wouldn't be able to go in there. But that's the first place they went. They wanted to be there, a lot of them. 

    "There was a point I can remember vividly that day. We were still in lockdown, the building was secure, the SWAT team was there, and I was trying to work with the police. I remember like it was yesterday realizing at that moment that this was no longer my building. It had been taken over by the police department

    When the kids came back, I knew things were going to work out. When we had that open house, when I saw the kids going into the cafeteria, when they made it clear that they were coming back, the school felt like ours again."

    More than two years later, the shooting still resonates every day at Chardon.

    "It's definitely not something that's forgotten. We take drills very seriously. We're still analyzing test results, looking to see if there's been an impact. It's an underlying theme in every day. It doesn't go away. Alumni are a little more attached. They come back and visit a little more.

    "One of our big, overarching messages on opening day is to make a connection with every kid.  On graduation day, every kid should be able to mention the name of at least one adult that they have a connection with. A teacher, a coach, a custodian, just someone. There should be someone in school that knows that kid, that smiles at that kid, that the kid can say, 'They cared.'"

    -- Anna Griffin

  • With four-time champion Sherwood off to 6A, plenty of title contenders emerge in 2014: Northwest Oregon Conference analysis

    Wilsonville, Sandy, Liberty and Parkrose are among teams expected to make a run

    Football in the Northwest Oregon Conference looks significantly different this fall due to subtraction.

    With Sherwood off to Class 6A, the door appears to be wide open for the 2014 league title. The Bowmen leave the NWOC having won the past four championships and a 30 consecutive games.

    “I’m loving life, and I’m pretty sure everyone else is, too,” Parkrose coach Maurice France said. “It was pretty much a one-team league with Sherwood here. They were a good team who made our (OSAA) RPI great, but now, let’s see what someone else can do.”

    Unlike the recent Sherwood years, there is no consensus NWOC favorite. The list of title contenders runs almost a handful deep, with Wilsonville, Sandy and Liberty atop the lists of most coaches. Parkrose, with a veteran group returning on offense, also figures in the mix.

    New shooters Hillsboro and La Salle Prep may also have a say in the final outcome. The last time the Spartans participated in the NWOC, they won the 5A state championship.

    As a nine-team league, Northwest Oregon starts league play during the opening week of the season. Under the new state playoff format, only the top four NWOC teams advance to the state playoffs.

    Here is a team-by-team look at the Northwest Oregon Conference:


    Three-year glance: 2-28 (.067)

    Last year: 2-8. 1-6 Pacific 6A; lost to Gresham in play-in game

    Playoff history: The Spartans won a state title in 2010 and went 6-1 in playoff games during the 2009-10 seasons. Hillsboro hasn’t been to the playoffs since then. The Spartans are three-time state champions, winning in 1966, 1973 and 2009.

    Coach: Adam Reese, second season

    Outlook: Hillsboro is hoping the drop to Class 5A will bring a return to the good old days, when the Spartans were competitive, and at times, like 2009, of state championship-caliber. A better team will help, too, and here Hillsboro appears to be improved. The Spartans best unit looks to be their defense, which returns 10 of 11 starters, including the 2013 team leader in sacks, defensive end Jackson Bayer. The Spartans’ standout is Dylan Frederick, a receiver who had nearly 900 yards in receptions last season and will also key Hillsboro’s secondary. The Spartans are looking at four quarterbacks, but Reese insists he’ll be down to one by the opener.


    Three-year glance: 24-10 (.706)

    Last year: 2-7, 1-4 Tri-Valley 4A; no postseason

    Playoff history: La Salle’s postseason resume is largely in 4A, where it won a state title in 2011. The Falcons are 11-7 all time, and their best finish outside of 2011 was a semifinal run in 1985.

    Coach: Aaron Hazel, first season

    Outlook: On the flip side of Hillsboro we have La Salle Prep, which moves from 4A to 5A this school year. The Falcons also share a distinction with Hillsboro in that it wasn’t long ago when they won a state title (2011), but collapsed last season. Rebuilding the program is Hazel, who comes from Vancouver where he was an assistant coach for powerhouse Skyview. La Salle Prep has a deep senior class, though its unproven. The Falcons have some pieces in place offensively in quarterback Mike Bianca and receiver Michael Duarte. Other players to watch include receiver/safety Jalontae Walker and lineman Brendan Quinn.


    Three-year glance: 12-19 (.387)

    Last year: 5-5, 4-3 NWOC; lost to Mountain View in play-in game

    Playoff history: Liberty is 0-3 all-time in playoff games, and its most recent appearance was 2011.

    Coach: Eric Mahlum, seventh season

    Outlook: This could be Liberty’s breakthrough season after tying for second in the NWOC a year ago. The Falcons have substantial experience, particularly in key positions such as quarterback (Blake Walker), running back (Devin Kaneshiro), linebacker (Devin Thompson) and receiver/defensive back (Byron Greenlee). All four are returning all-leaguers, with Thompson landing mention on the 5A all-state team. Liberty’s offense has versatility, with a dual threat quarterback in Walker, the run-receiving ability of Kaneshiro and Greenlee’s hands and athleticism.


    Three-year glance: 9-20 (.310)

    Last year: 1-8, 1-6 NWOC; no postseason

    Playoff history: The Mustangs’ lone state playoff appearance of the past 23 years came in 2005. Milwaukie is 5-15 during postseason competition, its last win coming in 1991.

    Coach: Jon Wolf, first season

    Outlook: The Mustangs should be in good hands with Wolf, who built a successful program at Gladstone. But it will take time, as the Mustangs’ lone winning season of the past two decades came in 2012. Milwaukie’s lone returning all-leaguer is linebacker Griffin Johnson. Expect to see a lot of changes this fall, as Wolf brings the run-based veer offense to the Mustangs. The prominent quarterback candidates are senior Aaron Walston and sophomore Jonathan Snyder, while the lead running back appears to be senior Ji’Laundre Edwards.


    Three-year glance: 13-17 (.433)

    Last year: 6-4, 4-3 NWOC; lost to Churchill in play-in game

    Playoff history: Parkrose is 0-4 in playoff games, and the Broncos’ last appearance came in 2010.

    Coach: Maurice France, second season

    Outlook: Lots of talk in Northeast Portland about Parkrose winning a state title this fall, which is particularly bold for a school with one state playoff appearance (2010) in 32 years. But the Broncos feed off their leader, uber-confident quarterback Jonathan Boland. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Boland has some credentials, after compiling nearly 3,000 yards in total offense last season. Parkrose returns eight starters on both sides of the ball, led by Boland, receivers Marshawn Edwards,Vincent Vy, and Michael Hurlic, plus four-year starting cornerback Andre Johnson.


    Three-year glance: 11-20 (.355)

    Last year: 3-7, 3-4 NWOC; lost to Dallas in play-in game

    Playoff history: The Kingsmen have been to the playoffs five times, including appearances in 2010 and 2012. Putnam’s most successful season was 1986, when it won two playoff games.

    Coach: Tim Jacobs, first season

    Outlook: Just as the NWOC thought it saw the last of the wing-T when Sherwood moved to Class 6A, here comes Jacobs to install the befuddling offense at Putnam. The Kingsmen lost considerable talent from last year’s squad, including running back Richie Mock, who transferred to Oregon City. But Putnam has some building blocks, with Zack Mason keying both sides of the line, and Brandon Culp a force at linebacker and running back. Jake Hamilton moves from receiver to quarterback to lead the wing-T attack. Others to watch include lineman Jeff D’Auvergne and tight end Tristan Smith.


    Three-year glance: 13-18 (.419)

    Last year: 6-4, 4-3 NWOC; lost to Summit in play-in game

    Playoff history: Sandy is 1-10 in the playoffs, with just one appearance (2011) in 15 years. The Pioneers’ lone postseason win came in 1998.

    Coach: Joe Polamalu, second season

    Outlook: Sandy is another team, like Liberty, that appears on the verge of a program breakout season. The Pioneers, NWOC co-runners up a year ago, appear in good hands up the middle on offense, with all-leaguers C.J. McKinnis (running back) and Spencer Barnett (quarterback), as well as center Crafton Chamberlain returning. Defensively, Sandy got a boost at linebacker in transfer Cole Holmlund at linebacker, who joins McKinnis, also an all-leaguer on defense. Other players to watch include defensive lineman Christopher Salmela, running back Andrew Funk, offensive tackle Nolan Wright and receiver Zachary Shields.


    Three-year glance: 10-19 (.345)

    Last year: 3-6, 1-6 NWOC; no postseason

    Playoff history: The Lions have some quality in their past, with five state finals appearances and state championship in 1992 and 1996. It’s been lean of late, though, as St. Helens has only been to the playoffs twice in 18 years.

    Coach: Jared Phillips, second season

    Outlook: St. Helens has an uphill battle ahead after graduating all of its all-leaguers, including quarterback Gage Bumgardner. The Lions have some positives on offense, where receivers Bryce Bumgardner and Justin Helgerson returns, as well as two-way lineman Trenton Beatty. St. Helens breaks in a promising sophomore quarterback in Levi Norton this season. The Lions have a strong sophomore class, and could be a team to watch in a year or two.


    Three-year glance: 22-11 (.667)

    Last year: 6-5, 4-3 NWOC; lost to Crescent Valley in first round of state playoffs.

    Playoff history: The Wildcats are regular playoff participants, having been to state the past five years. Wilsonville is 11-12 all-time, and won a state title in 2004.

    Coach: Adam Guenther, fifth season

    Outlook: Wilsonville is one of the league’s most experienced teams with 29 seniors on the roster, although the lone all-NWOC returnee is punter Cole Wilson. The Wildcats should feature a decent passing game, although they have yet to settle on a quarterback. Micco Mills and transfer Johnny Neville appear promising at receiver, while Wilson, Lane Hull and Nate Burke are the team’s top two running threats. Returning starter Elijah Benedick is battling West Linn transfer Connor Neville for the starting quarterback job. Kaden Floyd and Andre Morris key a ball-hawking Wildcats’ secondary.

  • Oregon school shooting: For former Springfield principal, Reynolds tragedy felt very personal

    Larry Bentz experienced violence twice in his career as a school principal.

    Larry Bentz was the principal at  on May 21, 1998, when Kip Kinkel killed two students and wounded 24 others. He was also the principal at Gresham's Springwater Trail High School when a student shot up a classroom in 2007, wounding several people with flying glass. I talked to Bentz this week as part of a story about what members of the Reynolds High School community should expect as they return to school. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

    "I was still living in Fairview when it happened. I just moved to Billings, Montana, in June. So I was a mile down the road.. My best friend's daughters were freshmen at Reynolds, so they were there. It felt very personal for me. But they all do, in a way. It never goes away. It's been 15 years or so for me, but it never goes away."

    Like other principals who have been through something horrific, Bentz says Reynolds administrators should pay special attention to their teachers and other adult staff. They can be so busy trying to take care of students that they do not get the counseling or support they need.

    ph.bentzFormer Thurston High principal Larry Bentz was living a mile or so from Reynolds High School at the time of this spring's shootings. 

    "Most people go into education because they're caring people. They want to help the kids. Part of the challenge as a leader is to ensure that the adults and not just the teachers, all of the staff, everybody on that day was involved, that they step back and take a moment to take care of themselves. Knowing that that makes them stronger and better prepared. You have to be really aware of that, you have to make sure it happens."  

    The shooting in Springfield took place on a Thursday. Students returned to school the next Tuesday.

    "It was important to get kids back to school. They took a great deal of comfort from their friends, the teachers, the stability of a regular schedule, the fact that the aberrational behavior on the part of one individual was not going to destroy their school.

    "On that Monday, we held an open house for kids and parents so folks could come back and see the courtyard and cafeteria before they came back on Tuesday. They were certainly glad to come back and to help reclaim their school. There really was not very much shying away from where it happened. There was some physical damage to the building that had been repaired but we made no pretense to pretending it did not happen.

    "There was no attempt to pretend that life was normal. What we tried to do was capitalize on the strength that the community showed and move forward. I don't have all the answers. What I tried to do was to balance mourning the loss of those poor kids who were killed and wounded with recognition of how strong the surviving kids' reactions were. There was a lot of trust involved. For example, that first week of school we trusted kids to go to class. A small minority of kids didn't, but I honestly didn't care. For the greater good, we needed to allow every kid to go through their own process."

    Bentz cautions that Reynolds community members should expect the recovery process to take quite a while -- particularly for adults.

    "Oh, it's a very long-term process, maybe more so for the adults than the students. Kids are resilient. They held it better than any of the adults involved in some ways.

    "I think unfortunately in the years since Thurston, school shootings have become more common. Certainly the media reacts to them differently now in terms of the intensity of the coverage and the longevity. We were under the microscope for months and months down there. My sense is that that's not quite the case anymore.

    "I don't think that means the kids are callous, but they are just more matter of fact about it than adults, particularly people in their 40s and above. We didn't grow up thinking that kind of violence is the norm. There's definitely I think a desensitizing effect that's gone on along the way. Kids today are just more matter of fact in their acceptance of violence."

    -- Anna Griffin

  • 2 Gresham men, Washington woman arrested on child pornography charges

    As a result of the investigation law enforcement officials identified and rescued a young child in Camas who had been sexually abused. The boy's case has been referred to Child Protective Services.

    Two Gresham men and a Washington woman have been arrested on suspicion of production and possession of child pornography.

    James Lee Hickerson, 35, of Gresham is accused of sexually abusing a child and taking screen shots of his girlfriend abusing a child while the two were Skyping, federal officials said. If convicted of charges, Hickerson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender, Oregon Department of Justice officials said.

    Hickerson's father, 56-year-old Neil Lee Hickerson of Gresham, was also arrested Tuesday and charged with possession of child pornography. Neil Hickerson has previously been convicted of an offense relating to sex abuse of a minor and if convicted would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. 

    Carolyn M. Knudsen, 28, of Camas, was charged with production of child pornography and aiding and abetting. If convicted, Knudsen faces a minimum of 15 years in prison and would be required to register as a sex offender.

    As a result of the investigation, law enforcement officers said they identified and rescued a young child in Camas who had been sexually abused. The boy's case has been referred to Child Protective Services, Justice officials said. 

  • Oregon school shooting: Columbine High principal says take care of each other

    Frank DeAngelis was principal at Columbine High School for 18 years.

    Frank DeAngelis retired this summer after 18 years as principal at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., where two gunmen killed 12 students and a teacher on April 20, 1998. I talked to him this week as part of a story about what members of the Reynolds High School community should expect as they return to school. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:

    "The piece of advice I give to everyone is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You think it's going to get better tomorrow, but it's not. You think it's going to get better at the start of the next year, but it's not. The piece of advice I have given everyone after an incident like this -- after Sandy Hook, after Virginia Tech, after Chardon -- is that you're not going to wake up one morning and discover that everything has gone back to normal. You're never going back to normal. There is no normal now. It's up to you and your community to define a new normal."

    Though it's been 15 years since Columbine, DeAngelis is reminded of the tragedy regularly.

    "Last December, we had a school shooting at a high school just down the road here, Arapahoe, and even though it was 15 years later, when I saw those kids coming out of the building with their hands up, it took me back to that day.

    "I got into counseling early. I can remember the second day after the shooting, my mom worked for a chiropractor who was a Vietnam vet, and he said, 'Frank, if you don't help yourself, you can't help anyone else. That was the best piece of advice I received.

    "Post-traumatic stress is an interesting thing. The smallest things can set you off. We got good advice on that early on. We had to change the lunches we were serving. On the day of the shooting, a lot of our kids were headed to lunch, and the cafeteria was serving Chinese food. So we had to make sure not to serve Chinese food any more. We couldn't serve Chinese food a year later because it might traumatize kids.

    "Teachers had to change their curriculum. People who taught social studies could not show videos, anything historical that might include guns, because that might have triggered emotion.

    "I had to go in over the summer and listen to various fire alarms to replace our old one, because we'd had kids who were locked in that building for two hours listening to the fire alarm while they waited to maybe die. These are things you don't anticipate when you go to principal school."

    DeAngelis initially planned to stay at Columbine long enough to get the children who were freshmen at the time of the shooting through graduation. Then he decided to stay until the children who started elementary school the year of the violence graduated high school. He ended up staying two years after that. But many of his fellow educators couldn't stay.

    "Within three years, all my assistant principals left. They couldn't be in the building anymore. They couldn't walk those halls every day. You forget that for teachers, for educators, that's your second family. You spent more time at school than you do at home. Administrators have to role model behavior after something like this. They need to make it clear to everyone that it's OK to get help, to seek support, to take some time to grieve, to be sad, whatever. I made sure whenever I got in front of my staff to share the fact that I was getting help 

    "I used to have teachers say, 'I'm fine, I'm talking to my spouse, my mom, my best friend.' That's great. But if you broke your arm or leg, would you have your wife or husband put a cast on your arm?

    "I had to reprogram my mind. For about the first month, I was in that building by myself other than construction workers. I had to go down that hallway where I confronted a gunman, and I would literally get nauseous. I would break down. My counselor told me to reprogram my mind so that I could not envision walking over dead bodies and kids lying in pools of blood. I had to consciously think about those kids in a different way. I saw Isaiah Shoels giving me a high five. I saw Rachel Scott performing on stage. Now when I walk out of my office, I'm not envisioning these kids dying but living. It made all the difference in me staying there.

    "It seems very pessimistic, but what I tell people is that 15 years later, I'm doing well, teachers are doing well, the community is doing well. I'm not going to sugar coat it, though. I'm not going to say that every day is going to be a great day. But there is hope. You can survive. Look at Columbine 15 years later: Our school is stronger. We're all stronger individuals. We offer hope."

    -- Anna Griffin

  • Parkrose's Michael Hurlic receives a football offer from Eastern Washington

    The 6-3 receiver is expected to be one of the Northwest Oregon Conference's top offensive threats this season

    Michael Hurlic, a 6-foot-3 senior receiver from Parkrose, has received an scholarship offer from Eastern Washington, according to Broncos coach Maurice France.

    Hurlic caught 35 passes for about 650 yards last season in helping Parkrose to a 6-4 record and a tie for second place in the Northwest Oregon Conference. Hurlic suffered a thumb injury late in the season, but has fully recovered.

    Eastern Washington is one of the country’s top NCAA FCS schools. The Eagles won won a national championship in 2010.

    Hurlic is expected to be one of the top offensive threats in the NWOC this season.

    Twitter: @nickdaschel

  • Thousands of sheep carcasses to be removed from Troutdale site as upscale hotel development begins

    A mostly hidden patch of Troutdale that holds remnants of a former sewage plant and thousands of buried sheep bodies will be transformed into a destination hotel, spa, convention center and bicyclist mecca on the banks of the Sandy River.

    A mostly hidden patch of Troutdale that holds remnants of a former sewage plant and thousands of buried sheep bodies will be transformed into a destination hotel, spa, convention center and bicyclist mecca on the banks of the Sandy River.

    The plan took a big step forward this week when Troutdale officials voted to signal the city's intention of selling the 12-acre former wastewater facility to Eastwind Development LLC, a company associated with food sauce maker Junki Yoshida. The City Council and its urban renewal agency approved the resolution on Tuesday.

    With the new agreement in hand, officials at Eastwind expect to combine the city land with eight acres owned by the company and start marketing it to a hotel operator to anchor the development near downtown. Part of the land could include one of east Multnomah County's top places to host conferences and events, as well as retail shops and a spa. Housing, once considered an element in the site's development, is no longer planned.

    "We are prepared to move forward in good faith and write a very big check to the city" for the land deal, said Matthew Wand, a Troutdale attorney and former council member working for Eastwind.

    Council member Rich Allen predicted the now unsightly location will become a popular destination.

    "It's not only important to Troutdale," he said, "it's important to the region."

    The development would highlight the Sandy River waterfront, including public access to the river, bicycle and walking trails and overlook areas. The developer expects to incorporate the site's old water tower, saving an iconic fixture in the city.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 2.22.22 PM.pngView full sizeAn aerial rendering of the proposed Troutdale development. 

    Several of the businesses expected to settle there are likely to cater to cyclists. The development is a natural hub for bicyclists riding the metro area's future 40-mile Loop or accessing popular routes in the Columbia River Gorge.

    "This could be ground zero where people start, where they stay overnight ... where they spend their money," Wand said.

    The city and Eastwind have yet to negotiate a sales price for the wastewater site, and the cleanup and preparation of the property will run into the millions of dollars even before any development occurs, Wand said.

    The properties are part of a larger urban renewal area formed in 2006. The state-authorized program makes the "brownfield" area eligible for special financing to aid redevelopment, but this area has been largely fallow in the past eight years, in part due to the long downturn in the economy.

    The site still has additional challenges to overcome before it can become a showcase for Troutdale, which is in the midst trying to remake itself into a bigger regional draw for outdoor enthusiasts and art and history lovers. Development also would increase the city's income through higher property taxes and additional lodging taxes.

    Eastwind's first priority is to rid the property of all those sheep carcasses, which accumulated while a sheep "pullery" operated on the site from a period of roughly the 1920s until as recently as the 1960s, Wand said. His own grandfather worked for a short time at the company, where wool was salvaged from dead sheep that were unfit to sell as meat. The carcasses were buried on location. Wand put the number in the many thousands.

    The company dug a test pit and found that after a half century or more underground, the animal remains have formed a gelatinous goo under a thick layer of dirt, Wand said.

    The material isn't toxic, Wand said. But he added: "You don't want to build over jiggly stuff that might not support a parking lot or building foundation."

    The company hopes to remove the remains this October, before the rainiest weather complicates the work but during the windy season, which they hope will make what's expected to be a smelly excavation more tolerable for surrounding residents and businesses.

    The company is working with the state Department of Environmental Quality, and the unsavory waste likely will disposed of at a remote facility designed to handle it, Wand said.

    After the sale, the company also would remove the old sewer plant, which the city replaced in 2001 with its wastewater facility north of Interstate 84. Today the old wastewater pond is covered with a matt of aquatic weeds. The sounds of croaking frogs and quacking ducks can be heard between passing trains.

    Those frequent trains are part of an even bigger challenge for the site development than a big pit of rotting animals: The site is nearly landlocked.

    Besides the river to its east, downtown Troutdale and busy railroad tracks flank the south side, the Columbia Gorge Premium Outlets mall is on the west and the elevated I-84 blocks access from the north.

    The only current way into the property is on narrow roads that skirt around the mall, but the city and Eastwind are looking at the possibility of extending Southeast Kibling Street from downtown Troutdale and across an overpass beyond the railroad tracks before dropping into the site.

    They also expect to build a pedestrian bridge across the tracks from downtown into the site as well as an underpass near the river that allow cyclists and walkers to safely pass the tracks.

    Eastwind officials also will speak with officials from the giant Simon Property Group, which owns the outlet mall, about redeveloping their property to include access from the west side that could tie the developments together. The developer also hopes to find a new location for a railroad yard at the south end of the property.

    -- Eric Apalategui

  • Mt. Hood Conference: 2014 high school football tour

    Find content from The Oregonian's Mt. Hood tour stops.

    The Oregonian's football preview tour is well underway and we've wrapped up the Mt. Hood Conference.

    Below you'll find a link to the preview of each school in the conference. Additional content for each team can be found linked in the school-specific preview, and don't miss Jerry Ulmer's analysis of how the additions of Oregon City and Clackamas are changing the balance of power.

    New to the high school preview tour? See our preview guide

    Mt. Hood Conference

    Barlow Bruins: The Bruins were 2-8 last season but four losses last season came by just one point.  Barlow returns a strong running game.

    Centennial Eagles: With the depth and experience on the offensive line, they should be able to run at will against most opponents.

    Central CatholicIt’s hardly an optimistic viewpoint to see this team as the overwhelming favorite to win the state title. They have one of the best offensive and defensive lines in the state, as well as three running backs who would be all-state selections on any other team.

    Clackamas Cavaliers: They will be taking their spread offense to the air this year to take advantage of great receiving corps.

    David Douglas Scots: There is nowhere to go but up for the Scots and morale is higher this year. 

    Gresham Gophers:From traditional I-formations to shotgun and pistol formations, the Gophers have no qualms about changing things up.

    Oregon City Pioneers: Oregon City returns a ton of talent for the 2014 season and new coach Randy Nyquist is a proven leader.

    Reynolds Raiders: The offense that racked up 36 points per game last season will be back in the full-fledged spread option formation. The question will be if this year's group be able to run it as efficiently as last year's squad.

  • Gresham police find stolen handcycle, return it to quadriplegic man

    A tip led detectives to find the handcycle near a transient camp on the Springwater Corridor, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, public information officer for the Gresham Police Department.

    Gresham police detectives found and returned a handcycle that was stolen from a quadriplegic man last week. 

    A tip led detectives to find the handcycle near a transient camp on the Springwater Corridor, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, public information officer for the Gresham Police Department. Detectives returned the handcycle to the man, who has limited use of his arms and cannot use his legs, Wednesday. 

    Detectives are continuing the follow-up on leads in the effort of identifying a suspect.