On the second floor of the Portland Campus Ministry’s Koinonia House is a chapel where students can seek solitude and relief from stress of campus life. After Portland Campus Ministries sells the Koinonia House, at the corner of Southwest Montgomery and Broadway, to PSU, this place of refuge and Campus Ministries as a whole may not be as readily available.
Pending finalized approval and agreement on the sale, the school will purchase the land and aging building for $1.15 million.
Portland Campus Ministries, which has owned the building since its groundbreaking in 1966, will likely remain a tenant of the building but have much less space and likely be moved from their space on the first floor to the basement.
“Right now the ministry has full access to all parts of the building,” said James Mattis, president of the Campus Ministries Board. “That will not be true anymore.”
Mattis said that the group would be able to use the space at times, but that they will now have to apply to be a campus student group and then apply for the space use. He said the group would have preferred not to sell the building, for ease and to keep a larger space, but the sale became necessary.
“The primary reason was because of a lack of sufficient resources from the eight different denominations that support us,” Mattis said. He added that the rent the group pulled in from places such as Annie’s Coffee and other tenants was only about half the amount needed to pay operating costs.
Lindsey Desrochers, returning vice president for Finance and Administration, said the deal is a huge step forward in the growth of the Portland State campus, which she said has increasingly moved eastward.
“We need to be looking at all opportunities,” Desrochers said, discussing the growth of the campus to accommodate the increasing growth rate in student numbers. “We have been growing rapidly, but not enough.”
Desrochers added that the school has no plans to change anything about the building, apart from some small construction totaling $125,000 in renovations to repair debilitated parts of the building. She said that something may be built in the building’s place in the future, but everything will remain as it is for the coming months, including current tenants.
Chris Laing, one of three pastors in Campus Ministries, said that the group is not sure what it will do when the sale happens, but was pretty sure they would remain as a tenant of the building
“The property hasn’t changed hands yet,” Laing said, adding that they hope to continue to find “new and creative ways to confirm ministries that have taken place.”
Mattis said that after the sale of the building, Portland Campus Ministries will be reassessing their organization.
“The bottom line of having to sell the building is that it will bring a big change over the next period of time,” he said. “We’re going to have a big rethink.”
Mattis said that the group will consider moving into other buildings near campus, but is not excluding the possibility of moving further off campus, near one of the eight churches that supports them. He said the group will use the time that they have before anything actually changes about the building to look at the possibilities.
Mattis does not feel that this sale and the future move of the group would cause any real problems with the work or students of the organization. “There are a lot of mixed feelings,” Mattis said. “Most people are looking at it as a chance to reassess.”
The other tenants of the building have not had much in a change of pace because of the sale of the building.
Chang Song, six-year owner of Annie’s Coffee, said that neither the school nor Portland Campus Ministries House Administrator Audrey Moser had mentioned anything about his business getting moved out of the building,
“I want to keep the place,” he said. “They said they might extend my lease.”