Portland State, the City of Portland and the Portland Development Commission have signed a letter of agreement, which could direct upward of $25 million in land and money to PSU for development projects in the next decade.
The preliminary deal is the result of a compromise struck by the City of Portland and PSU after Portland Mayor Charlie Hales proposed to eliminate the Education Urban Renewal Area, which was approved by the Portland City Council in 2012. The $169 million Urban Renewal Area was expected to provide $50.3 million toward PSU-related projects over the next 30 years.
Although the new proposal provides half of the $50 million agreed upon two years ago, PSU President Wim Wiewel remains optimistic.
“Of the $50 million we were supposed to get—if you look at when we were supposed to get it—most of it wasn’t supposed to come until the second and third decades,” Wiewel said. “In this new plan, we’re going to get this $25 million, not today, but over the next 10 years. So it is about equivalent to getting $50 million over the next 30 years.”
Wiewel is referring to the net present value, which measures the present sum of money in contrast to the value it will have in the future.
According to the letter of agreement addressed to Wiewel in early May, the Portland Development Commission will supply $2 million to renovate PSU’s School of Business Administration, and a minimum of $2 million for the renovation and expansion of the School of Engineering.
The PDC will also transfer ownership of the Jasmine Block, an area of land located between Fourth and Fifth avenues, to PSU. The acquisition of this block allows potential for a new building to be added to PSU’s campus.
Finally, the agreement will steer $13 million to the redevelopment of University Place Hotel, as well as secure the right for the PDC to acquire and transfer a half acre of land (located on Fourth Avenue) to PSU.
As the university’s student population is growing, Wiewel believes this proposal will be beneficial for future PSU students. The renovations to the School of Business and School of Engineering, coupled with the acquisition of land, leaves the door open for more classrooms available on campus.
While the letter of agreement is not yet legally binding, Wiewel is confident in Hales’ support of PSU.
“To the mayor’s credit, he really listens. The nature of these negotiations that we’ve had with the city these past six months have given me a lot of faith in the seriousness and sincerity of the city’s collaboration with PSU,” Wiewel said.
The finalized proposal is expected this fall.