'We're worried this is going to kill our community'

'We're worried this is going to kill our community'

LORANE, Ore. -- Lorane Elementary School has been an integral part of the Lorane community for decades. Community member Beth Robinson said that the bright red school building acted as a hub for community activities.

Even though it has been a fixture in the community for quite some time, the building hasn't seen kids walk up its steps in over a year. The Crow-Applegate School District closed the school in 2011 to save money.

"I don't think anyone in Lorane wants to point fingers or say anything," said Robinson. "We understand budget constraints but we don't think they understand how important this school is."

Since it's doors have closed to students, community groups like Boy Scouts and the food pantry have continued to use the empty building. Robinson said that now the district wants them out.

"What they've said is that those groups need to leave, they need to move," she said. "The food pantry has no place to go. We're worried this is going to kill our community."

It's not only the school building that community members are concerned about. They're also upset about the fact that their playground has been dismantled, the only one in Lorane.

"It saddens me that living as far out as we do, far from all of the bigger cities," said community member Marissa Cooper. "We don't have a park on every corner that we can walk to."

Cooper and Rob Herbison both live near the school and say the district tore out the playground about a month ago due to liability issues.

"On a Monday night they decided that they either had to repair it and put up signs or remove it all together," said Herbison. "We virtually had two days to figure out what to do and before we could put any input in, it was already gone."

Cooper said that the rural community on a whole had donated a lot of time and money to maintaining the playground. Many have said that their work and dedication to the school should account for something in the final decision.

'We feel like us as a community donated a lot of time and money to maintain and build the playground and that it kinda belongs to the community," said Cooper.

KVAL News tried contacting the Crow-Applegate School District on Friday for a comment on the school but have not heard back.
In the meantime, the community said that the future is uncertain. With no school and now no playground, they said they're worried more families will continue to move out of the district.

"We're gonna fight for this, we want to maintain this central hub, the heart of our community and not see it go," said Cooper.