Shining Star is still in operation. They had to fall back and re-group after an upheaval in Dec. 2008, but the new incarnation for grades seems to be going strong at their new location on NE Tillamook. The Tillamook classrooms are in the basement of a church on a quiet street in a pleasant neighborhood. When I visited this location last fall the playground was the enclosed church parking lot. Marsha Johnson, the director of Shining Star, said she was hoping to be able to find a neighbor that would let them use their backyard for a playground (They had this kind of set-up at their old site on Emerson and it worked well). I don't know if this has happened yet or not. The K and nursery classes are on NE Prescott. The Prescott neighborhood is marginal but the school, garden and grassy playground are a little oasis of peace. The grades program at Shining Star is multi-aged, 1st through 4th grade. Marsha is the main teacher. She is helped by many parent volunteers. I have friends who send their children there and love it. It is a friendly community of people, though not very diverse.
The Micha-el school was started by Valerie Miles, one of the teachers who left Shining Star during the upheaval of Dec. 08., along with her husband John, who runs our local Waldorf Teacher Training school, The Micha-el Institute. This school is in SE Portland, at our Lady of Sorrows Church (52nd and Woodstock), on a busy street in an OK neighborhood. In my opinion the Micha-el school has a better site, with large well lit classrooms and a nice playground just across a small street. It is a traditional, full time Waldorf school though, not a part-time program like Shining Star. For the short month we were there, there was little diversity amongst the student body or faculty, but it was still a nice community of friendly folks. Unfortunately, I have not kept in touch with anyone at that school, so I cannot tell you what it is like now.