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Jefferson’s Future in Discussion

Comments taken on new master plan

The elite Jefferson Dancers of the nationally known dance department at Jefferson High School. The school district is taking public comments on a new master plan for the school, the first step in renovating the most prominent school in Portland’s Black community.

Portland Public Schools this week formerly begins receiving public input on what direction to take in the plans for a renovated Jefferson High School, the most prominent school in Portland’s historic Black community.

The passage of a school district bond in 2020 provided funds for the design and construction of a modernized Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies.

Master planning is the first step in determining the shape of the new school. PPS is seeking input from the Jefferson community and looking for volunteers to join the Jefferson Master Planning Committee.

The goal of the Committee is to develop a comprehensive, equitable, integrated and visionary high school campus design with authentic school community engagement. To apply, send an email to or visit

PPS is preparing a robust engagement process and wants to hear from the many diverse voices within the Jefferson community. With full recognition of Portland’s history of inequity, especially related to redevelopment efforts within historically black neighborhoods, PPS is committed to making sure all voices are heard as this important project moves forward.

The process begins with an open house meeting today from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Jefferson. A Jefferson Master Planning Committee will be selected by the end of May and will begin work that will last for several months, according to the time established for making decisions.

In addition, several public design workshops will be held to allow the greater community an opportunity to weigh in on the design process as it develops. After a master plan is finalized, the project moves into design followed by construction starting in2024. A newly modernized Jefferson is scheduled to open at the start of the 2026-27 school year.

Jefferson will be the seventh high school to be modernized as part of Portland Public Schools long range plan to upgrade all of their aging school buildings over the next few decades. Most PPS school buildings were built before World War II and many are in need of vital upgrades.


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