Demonstrators protest plan to rent out Cleveland HS' football field

PORTLAND, Ore. - Demonstrators hung up a banner at Cleveland High School's football field Wednesday that said, "Not for sale," to help make their point that the field should stay available to students all the time instead of being rented out by the district to raise funds.

Cleveland High School's boosters raised $800,000 on their own, including a half-million dollar donation from Cleveland graduate Phil Knight of Nike to install new turf for Cleveland High School athletes to use.

Portland Public Schools didn't put in any money for the work because of budget cuts at the time. Now the district plans to rent the field as well as others to raise money to pay for putting new turf at all high schools.

Workers are just finishing up installing new turf and a new track at North Portland's Jefferson High School.

Those against the rental plan say it's unfair to rent out fields they worked hard to replace in 2008 and there's no real guarantee students will always come first.

"I don't really trust it at this point because they've wavered," said Kristin George with Cleveland High School boys' soccer board. "There have been different interpretations about what that means. Is it permanent? Is it just for fall? Is it fall and spring? We understood they were entering into a 10-year agreement. Are those null and void at this point? We don't know."

Cleveland High School's principal sent a letter to parents stressing what the district has said which is that school programs will get first crack at scheduling time on the fields. But once that's set they won't be able to change practice or game days because the remaining time will be available for rent.

The school district feels some people are worried because those schedules aren't finished yet.