Jason Lee, for whom the school is named, was a prominent Methodist Episcopal missionary and pioneer in the early Oregon Territory. He arrived at Fort Vancouver in 1834 and eventually established a mission near present-day Salem, Oregon. Lee was the first of the Oregon missionaries and instrumental in the American settlement in the Oregon Country. He also helped found the Oregon Institute, known today as Willamette University.
Jason Lee Junior High School opened its doors September 1965. The new building, intended for a maximum enrollment of 800 students, opened above capacity with 812 students. As enrollment climbed, Jason Lee’s seventh-graders were bused to Columbia River High School the next two years for half-days of instruction. The fractioning of classes to accommodate high enrollment in the area continued until 1974, when Gaiser Junior High (Gaiser Middle School) opened its doors.
Other highlights include:
February 1990—Voters approve a $45 million bond to fund remodeling at Jason Lee.
September 1991—As part of the first phase of remodeling, the media center opens.
February 1997—The second phase remodel of the school is completed.
Spring 1998—Challenge Program moves to Jason Lee over the next three years.
2003—Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Program is offered.
September 2008—Advancement Via Individual Determination expands to four more schools, including Jason Lee.
2015—The school celebrates its 50th anniversary.