Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a new partnership to construct a near $100 million, 200,000 square foot building that will house Portland State, Oregon Health and Science University and Portland Community College facilities. The new academic building, set to open in September 2020, will also house an as-yet unnamed City of Portland bureau.
The building, tentatively named the 4th and Montgomery building, will house a school of public health, the first in Portland, a community dental health clinic, PSU’s Graduate School of Education, and the aforementioned City of Portland bureau.
Joined by PSU President Wim Wiewel, OHSU President Joe Robertson, PCC President Mark Mitsui and OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Dean David Bangsberg, Wheeler touted the importance of the project to the area.
OHSU-PSU Dean Bangsberg also introduced several students in the Public Health program.
“The city is very proud to be a full partner in the first ever capital collaboration between PSU-OHSU and PCC,” Wheeler said. “This is the first time in our city’s history that these three public institutions of higher education have been together in one building, and it’s going to move the city forward on some very important fronts.”
Wheeler cited the numerous urban elements that tie the project together, including transportation, public services and a new space for a City of Portland bureau.
When pressed on what bureau that may be, Wheeler demurred.
“I don’t answer hypotheticals,” Wheeler responded, adding at length that “there are several options, and we’re not ready at this point—the council hasn’t had enough deliberations that we’d like to make a statement today, but I want to assure you that in deep consideration we want to make sure that whatever we do with our portion of this building, it leverages the resources these other institutions are bringing to the table.”
New building to benefit PSU materially and collaboratively
Wiewel praised this partnership in his statements.
“Collaboration with the city and with others has been one of the hallmarks of Portland State for a long time and has been one of the really exciting things that brought me to Portland,” Wiewel remarked, recounting how the Urban Center was built with 14 different funding sources.
“We’ve always been about partnership,” Wiewel added, “and I think we wouldn’t have survived as an institution if we hadn’t always been that way.”
PCC President Mitsui echoed Wiewel, saying that the project “is a great example of how everybody in Portland pulls together for the benefit of the community and our students.”
“Collaboration is also a little messy sometimes,” OHSU President Robertson added, saying that nonetheless “I want to celebrate the nine or ten years I’ve been able to work with President Wiewel.”
The building will house PSU’s recently displaced Graduate School of Education, alongside a new School of Public Health. The School of Public Health is a partnership between PSU and OHSU, and, according to Wiewel, will require the dean to answer to two separate provosts. The strategic alliance between PSU and OHSU has been active since 2010.
Other services in the building include in-house counseling provided by the Graduate School of Education and dental services provided by PCC, which will be moved to the new building from the school’s Sylvania campus.
Funding for the new building will be in the form of a $51 million bond from the state, and $15 million each from the City of Portland, OHSU-PSU, and PCC. Wheeler clarified that this amount represents no new taxes.
This new building will be the newest on PSU’s campus after the construction of the School of Business Administration, which is set to open in fall 2017.