Letter to the Editor July 2021

To the Editor:             

In July this year, Portland’s largest preschool, Childswork Learning Center, will be kicked out of the Sunnyside neighborhood church it has called home for the past 15 years. 

That puts 250 kids and their families at risk of not having childcare or early learning education this coming school year. It also results in employment loss of their extensive teaching and facility staff.

The eviction is occurring due to St. Stephen’s Church Diocese prematurely breaking/vacating their lease agreement with Childswork Learning Center, requesting they leave in July 2021.

All this comes in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the constraints COVID-19 has put on our communities. It also is at a time of considerable shortages in childcare resources in this Portland and elsewhere. 

Now that workplaces are starting to gradually reopen and parents are seeking to return to their office work sites, this shortage of childcare is particularly damaging. 

The city is at risk of losing its largest preschool that was founded in 1984 and has thrived and been considered one of the very best. It couldn’t be happening at a worse time, yet few members of the community know of this travesty occurring in the Sunnyside neighborhood.

In my opinion, this is a devastating blow to this childcare/early learning facility and to childcare at large. Clearly Childswork Learning Center needs more time to find an alternative and affordable site for their ongoing use. 

Ideally one would hope St. Stephen’s Church would either not break their lease prematurely or at least extend their lease one further year, so a new location can be found in a timely manner.

For a religious institution to be ousting young children, their families and caregivers in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic is unconscionable and a very poor reflection on their church and their acclaimed spiritual beliefs.

Ann Bennett

Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor should be less than 300 words and The SE Examiner reserves the right to edit them for length or content.

Letter to the Editor July 2021

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