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Dozens gather in effort to save Portland Children’s Museum set to close in June


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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — Families held a rally to support saving the Portland Children’s Museum and Opal School from their upcoming closures.

Last week, the museum’s board announced the permanent closure of both, set to happen June 30.

The board said the decision was not made lightly and was because of the financial impact of COVID-19 restrictions, explaining it wouldn’t be possible to re-open.

People who gathered at the museum Wednesday evening said they were blindsided by the decision and wanted more information in hopes of finding a way to help.

Maria Devaney, whose children attend the Opal School, told FOX 12 that she “felt like the wind was taken out of me. Anger, sadness. I cried, I’ve been crying a lot and I’m not that person.”

Charlie Zimmermann, 17, has fond memories of the children’s museum. “Perhaps transform it into a new space, or a new iteration, I just want to make sure the children’s museum doesn’t like die,” Zimmermann said.

FOX 12 reached out to the museum’s board about the families’ efforts.

The following statement from the chair of the Board of Directors for the Portland Children’s Museum was provided to FOX 12:

“We are aware of the rally and support people demonstrating their grief over the closure of Portland Children’s Museum and Opal School. Like many of our fellow Portlanders, we’re grieving too. Children are losing their school, the remaining Museum staff and teachers are losing their jobs – and some families are experiencing both losses.

Many options were considered on the path to deciding to dissolve Portland Children’s Museum and close Opal School – the decision was not made lightly.

It is the unanimous conclusion of the board and school leadership that the interplay between the many challenges and the required timing, compounded by the impact of the pandemic were insurmountable. We understand that some will disagree with this conclusion and would like to change the outcome. However, there is no viable path forward for the Museum nor Opal School and they will close.

Unfortunately closures due to the pandemic are happening across the country and our city. Again, we thank everyone for their outpouring of support and solidarity. We love our community and are so thankful to have been a part of it.”

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