Orenco History


    Orenco’s history goes back to the 1800’s .  The Oregon Land Donation Act of 1850 provided a way for areas to be settled.  The Orenco area was cleared by Chinese labors employed by a number of local farmers.  Two individuals, Archibal McGill and Malcolm McDonald, joined together to create the Oregon Nursery Company at the turn of the century.  The Oregon Nursery Company owned 1200 acres of land. Both men built large homes. The McDonald house is still in use today on the Orenco Golf Course.

    Orenco’s name?  Well, the most popular explanation is the taking of letters from OREgon Nursery COmpany, ORENCO.

    The original Orenco School was built in 1910.  It was built with 4 rooms but only two were finished.  The school grew so fast that during the summer of 1912 the upper floor’s two rooms were completed. Take a look at the planning and construction history for the new Orenco School built in 2000.

    Link to Orenco Elementary construction information

    Orenco’s Planning team teacher, Bridgett Goldwaite, and music teacher, Jim Matilla review classroom design plans during December’s team review of final interior classroom designs.  Architect’s plans were reviewed for consideration of classroom furnishings, equipment, and supplies in order to begin placing orders.
    (photo taken: 12/2/99)
    In 1910, the original Orenco school was built facing Birch Street.  It was built with four rooms, but only the two lower rooms were finished.  The school grew so rapidly that it was necessary during the summer of 1912 to finish the two upper rooms.
    The old Orenco School's last principal, Earl Johnson (left), and the new Orenco School's new principal, Tim Bishop, chatted at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new school.
    (photo taken: 6/15/99)
    Mid-November photo of classroom framing along Orenco’s northwest side.
    Taken in December 1999, this photo shows the gym wall under construction. The actual gym space is on the other side of the wall. The concrete slab in front will have entry, main office and workroom.
  • Orenco Elementary Update - January 2000
    Opened Fall 2000

    This photo shows Orenco's northwest corner where classroom framing is being covered and roof trusses are being added. Classrooms are grouped in fours with matching floor plans on each story. Architectural considerations were made in the design to reflect some of Orenco's community styling.
    (photo taken: Jan. 2000)

    This is a southern view of Orenco Elementary. On the right, you will see the slanted roof of the gym and cafeteria. On the left is where the classrooms are being built. (photo taken: Jan. 2000)

    This is a view from the west, overlooking one of Orenco's playing fields. Students will have several, large playing fields for P.E. and after school sports activities. (photo taken: Jan. 2000)
  • Orenco Elementary Update - February 2000

    Orenco’s planning team met regularly to work on the many necessary details, large and small, to ensure a smooth startup in the fall. In February 2000, team members, Suzanne Kirkpatrick, Kim Batchelor, Connie Robertson, and Lea Naylor reviewed plans for curriculum coordination and student transition activities.
    Workers met frequently to review and update construction progress. Many people worked to ensure Orenco’s completion and start-up.
    February’s 2000 roofless gym provided lots of natural light along with dampness. The large windows opening to the main entrance hall can be seen on the right. The yet-to-be walled cafeteria is beyond the stage.