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News Release
Criterion Schoolhouse Interior
Criterion Schoolhouse Interior
$5,000 Grant from Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund Enables Improvements to the Historic Criterion Schoolhouse at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center (Photo) - 03/15/23

[SALEM, OR] – The Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center congratulates the Oregon Retired Educators Association Unit #39 on their recent grant from Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund. The $5,000 grant will help offset the high costs of milling period-accurate siding for the historic Criterion Schoolhouse, located at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center. 

Children first attended class at the one-room Criterion School in 1912, when it sat in the Oregon high desert near Maupin. While it ceased to operate as a school in 1925, it served the community as a Sunday school, dance hall, voting center, and public event space before sitting vacant for years. In 1976, the Criterion Schoolhouse began a new life, embarking on a 200-mile journey to the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Chosen from more than 50 schools around Oregon, it hosted a statewide spelling at that year’s Fair as it became an exhibit celebrating the bicentennial of the United States.

These days, class is in session at the Oregon State Fair each summer, where guests can step back in time to feel what it was like to attend school in a single room. Like any building that’s been around for more than 100 years, it has shown its age in recent years, and needs refurbishment to shine again.

OREA Unit #39 has partnered with Clatsop Community College Historic Preservation and Restoration Program to plan the siding repair project and will conduct restoration workshops in May and July. This work will help restore and preserve this tribute to Oregon public education for the benefit of Oregon State Fair guests, as well as the public-at-large, for years to come.

“Pat Eck and the OREA Unit #39 has been instrumental in securing these funds,” said Kim Grewe-Powell, CEO of the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center. “The Criterion Schoolhouse may be historic, but deserves modern refurbishments to keep educating thousands of guests each year. We are extremely grateful for the hard work of everyone at OREA Unit #39, and the generosity of the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, as they help make sure future generations can enjoy this beloved educational attraction at the Oregon State Fair for many years to come.”

For more information about OREA Unit #39, contact Pat Eck at 503-262-4970 or pauleck@q.com.

About the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center:
The Oregon State Fair is a public/private entity owned by the people of Oregon. The Fair in Oregon City in 1861, and moved to the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem, the State Capitol in 1862. The Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world each year, with premier concerts, art, culture, rides, agricultural exhibits, and livestock exhibits. Throughout the year, the Fair and Expo Center works with multiple agencies to facilitate emergency and disaster response needs. For more information, visit oregonstateexpo.org or contact info@oregonstatefair.org.


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