We did it! MLK Jr. School & Option B has been taken off the table!

Dear Dr MLK Jr Community, 

It is with great gratitude that I write this message today. The district just announced that Harriet Tubman Middle School will not displace our vibrant school. The Dr MLK Jr staff and families spoke up and used our collective voice, vision and passion to influence this decision. Not only did our PTA and staff speak up but our students had a hand in real life activism; they marched, made signs, and wrote postcards to decision makers. I couldn’t be more proud and more honored to be with you all. Please see below for a message from your PTA. I encourage all of you to continue to use your voice to influence where the future HTMS will be located. The well being of HTMS is the well being of our students as well. Take care everyone. 

Teresa Seidel
Principal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

We’ve just received word that the PPS Board has taken Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—and all the other elementary schools under consideration—off the table as potential relocation sites for Harriet Tubman Middle School! We spoke up, we spoke out, we marched, we told our stories, we rallied as a community, and together we made a difference. Thank you to all the students, staff members, families, and allies who helped make this dream a reality. Now that the displacement of our school is no longer a concern, we will focus our efforts on facilitating direct community engagement to help the Board identify a new and improved location for Tubman which centers the needs of the impacted families. Thanks again to everyone who contributed their time, energy, experience, and expertise to the effort. We couldn’t have done it without you! 

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. PTA Board 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

The Harriet Tubman Relocation Project

The location of the I-5 Interstate freeway directly adjacent to Harriet Tubman Middle School has created poor air quality for the HTMS students. The proposed I-5 Rose Quarter improvement project would further cut into the HTMS campus, threatening to worsen the air quality and exacerbate negative health impacts for the students during construction and over the long term.

PPS is looking at Option A, to purchase and build a new Harriet Tubman Middle School somewhere within the borders of the catchment area. PPS is also looking at Option B, to close one of 4 schools: Sabin, Irvington, Boise-Eliot or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the last two of which are historically African-American schools., in order to renovate and build a new Harriet Tubman Middle School.

The History of Albina

To understand the context behind the historic systemic racism of Portland, please take a look at our carefully crafted deck

Our ask

Take Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School off of the Option B proposal and end the cycle of systemic racism in Portland Public Schools.

"MLK is home. My dad says it's a dream that his grandkids go to school there, you don't see that anymore in Portland. MLK is a family, it feels like home. Doesn't matter what race you are, we come together from the office staff, teachers, the kids, support staff, it makes me mad at them that they want to take it away. They've been gentrifying and moving us out, they keep targeting Black schools.  They've tried to shut down Jefferson [High School] so many times over the last 30 years. They want to move the Black community out." 

- Tiffany Robinson, MLK parent and President of the PTA


"The PTA's consensus is we want the best for both schools. I went to Tubman, my son is going to Tubman. I want Northeast Portland to continue to thrive. I don’t want them to close one for another. I moved back to Portland from Arkansas to have my kids walk the same path I walked. I don’t want to let go of that. It’s important to have Black schools in a White state."

-Tyler Brown, MLK parent and Vice President of the PTA


"Think of the neighborhood, look at redlining. My great great grandparents time, that was the only area where any Black people could buy homes and that's why there are so many Black people.  And for PPS to say "We don't want to displace the Black community or a Black school", well we have to go all the way back and look at the things you've been doing.  That hasn't been acknowledged by the city or from you as a school district (PPS)."


"In order to really understand the gravity of what we are asking and where the frustration is coming from, you have to understand the years and years and decades of trauma that the community has faced. And now we're coming back as a school district and saying that our hands are tied and we got to do something (which we do) but who is being impacted by this? Black families. I want us to be crystal clear that the reason we are seeing this [community] push back and the reason why people are irritated and frustrated is because once again 'White America' is coming in and telling Black families we are going to make things better for you, but you gotta go."

-Herman Greene, Board of Directors Zone 4, PPS Board of Education


On PPS community outreach: "If we're talking about equity, we should not even have this [PPS & Sabin community] meeting until we talk to the Black and Brown families of who will be affected the most. Working with community-based organizations is not the same as reaching out to the families who are going to have transportation changes and childcare changes and whose lives are going to be impacted once again."

-Chrysanthius Lathan, Principal at Sabin Elementary School

How to help

Fill out this petition / petición

Write letters to individual PPS board members (letters can also be dropped off at the mail slot by the office and will be hand delivered). Board Members 501 N. Dixon Street, Portland, Oregon, 97227.

Share this website to other concerned community members and friends.

Attend our school's MLK Day Celebration on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 at 3 PM at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary

Donate to the PTA. The PTA has a Memberhub account where donations will be used for the upcoming MLK event and for resources to save our school. 

Thank you to everyone for coming out to our Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration!

On Friday, January 14, 2022, students, families, teachers, staff, media and friends came out to support our school!

MLK Jr. School Links

Official Statement from PTA Board

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School Official Dr. MLK Elementary School site

MLK JR. PTA Portland, Oregon - Official PTA site

KSMoCA - Official King School Museum of Contemporary Art site

Instagram @youcancallmebernie

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