Three hundred and two blocks east of downtown Portland, on Lusted Road, a farmer’s field was turned into a real field of dreams in September of 1968.

At that time, 550 people from the communities of Hillsview, Pleasant Home, Powell Valley, Orient, Boring, Damascus and Gresham, and other places as well, formed the student body of the newest high school in the Gresham Union High School district. The dreams of thousands have filled the rooms and halls of what we proudly know as Sam Barlow High School… home of the Bruins.


Sam Barlow High School was named after the pioneer Samuel Kimbrough Barlow who, in 1845, decided to search for a better life. Barlow believed that better life could be found at the end of the Oregon Trail. Because of the tremendous cost of sending his belongings down the Columbia River to the Willamette River at Oregon City on a barge, he looked for other options. He searched for an overland passageway around Mt. Hood to Oregon City, a route now known as the Barlow Road. This historic trail passes not far from Barlow High School's campus. Sam Barlow's group arrived in Oregon City on Christmas Eve in 1845. He then settled in Oregon City and concentrated on upgrading the road so more pioneers could use it as a way to get to the Willamette Valley.


OriginalSBHScoa2Edith Green, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oregon’s Third Congressional District, was the guest speaker at the dedication of Sam Barlow High School on November 6, 1968, in the gymnasium. James Carson, head of the school board, presented the school to Dr. Alan Thede, principal, who, with student body president Bob Deatherage, accepted on behalf of the students and the community.

Scholastic excellence and student achievement have been the pursuit of Sam Barlow High School throughout its existence. A rigorous academic program taught by outstanding faculty has challenged the most dedicated learners. The program offerings are varied and flexible, with a multitude of co-curricular activities that complement the instructional programs. These diverse activities have enabled students to become involved, broadened their horizons in myriad ways, and enriched their lives.


So many memories are still alive in all of us. Generations have come and gone. The first graduating classes have welcomed their children as Barlow students. And now, they're welcoming their grandchildren as students! The haircuts, clothes, and music have made their cycle. Last names have been reappearing at Sam Barlow. New construction and remodeling have added much needed classroom space, expanded the media center, and added another gym. The addition of a turf field brought many community members together to make this endeavor a success. The original water tower has been replaced with a new one—complete with cell-tower antennas. The traditions of Homecoming, Snowball, Beardown, Springfest and Prom continue. The trophy cases are full of  reminders of greatness.


But the real greatness of our joint experiences and relationships resides in each of us. Our lives touch many; our hearts will be with our families and friends, but our souls will be Bruins – Sam Barlow Bruins forever! Join us as we celebrate Barlow's heritage and history. Let's come together to not only honor our past—but more importantly, to reach out to new Bruins, and build a rich future. SBHSAA is committed to bridging our amazing past to an equally amazing future! Bruins forever!

—Diane Deatherage, first graduating class ('70)