PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Parents, students and community members around Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School will gather Friday to celebrate its history and rally to save it. This all stems from a planned project by the state to widen Interstate 5.
Fifty-four years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary became the first in the country to be named after Dr. King following his assassination. On Friday afternoon, the community will gather to celebrate the school with a student parade, food to-go, a live art project, and a loud, clear call to Portland Public Schools.
"Tearing apart this school is basically tearing apart our family," said Tiffany Robinson, MLK Jr. Elementary PTA president.
Years ago, state officials approved plans and funding to substantially widen I-5. The project would move the freeway even closer to Harriet Tubman Middle School.
Fearing noise and outdoor air quality impacts to students and staff, PPS wants to relocate and rebuild the school in a safer location. One plan gaining traction is to dismantle Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary and relocate Harriet Tubman Middle School there.
"Just build a new location. I don't want any other school to be displaced, because it's not just our community that matters. I'm fighting for all of our Black community," Robinson said.
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Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, with 300-plus students, is still one of the most diverse in Oregon and home to many multigenerational Black families in the historic Albina neighborhood.
"My kids is a third generation from my family," said Robinson. "My dad actually went to the school when it was called Highland, so he was there for the name change."
PPS told FOX 12 they are in the early stages of planning and discussion with the community. No time table has been set to when a decision will be made, but ultimately it will be made by the school board.
The rally is expected to start at 3:15 p.m. at the elementary school located at 4906 Northeast 6th Avenue.