The Seven Wonders of PSU


Best hidden place to-


Have a sandwich while listening to Shostakovich

Basement Recital Hall at Lincoln Hall, Room 75

In the basement of Lincoln Hall there’s an intimate 200-seat recital hall where you can bring your sack lunch and listen to all varieties of live music. Lunchtime concerts from noon to 1 p.m. are always free. The auditorium used to be a gymnasium or swimming pool about 50 years ago when it was part of Lincoln High School, said Zachary Hoyt, a graduate teaching assistant for the music department. Now, instead of the sounds of splashing, or a lively game of dodge ball, you’re likely to hear professional musicians from the community or student performers. Hoyt said that world music, jazz and classical are popular offerings in the recital hall, and one of the more unique concerts was a children’s opera. The “brown bag” concerts are held every Tuesday and Thursday throughout Fall, Winter and Spring Terms. The recital hall hosts many other concerts and student recitals throughout the year and many are free.  Check the music department web

site at for updates on happenings in the basement or call the department at 503-725-3011.


Admire a native rose

Native American Student and Community Center rooftop garden

A red brick pathway zigzags and climbs the rooftop garden of the Native American Student and Community Center, traversing through seven beds of native plants. The fully accessible path passes through cascading terraces that hold a variety of grasses, shrubs and flowers. The fifth terrace has a spectacular array of elderberry, Oregon Grape, kinnikinnick, salal, sedum, native roses, lupine and reeds. A few paces upward, the glass “Cone of Silence” in the Helen Peterson Courtyard stretches 25 feet into the sky. “Lodge poles” emerge through the roof from the gathering room below and surround the cone, leaning gently inwards towards its peak.


View the city from a perch seven stories high

Dirce Moroni Toulan Library

seventh floor of the College of Urban and Public Affairs

It feels like a carnival ride, though if you look around, the room is still. It’s just that the reading nook in the Toulan Library of the College of Urban and Public Affairs extends from the building about five feet, hanging over the sidewalk on Mill Street. At seven stories high and with nearly panoramic views to the north, east, and west – the perch feels precarious but well worth the risk. Whether watching city life on the streets below or admiring Portland landmarks such as the Hawthorne Bridge, the Koin Center or Mt. Hood, the trip to the Toulan Library would be well worth the price of cotton candy. Comfortable sofa chairs grace the nook and two low wooden coffee tables make the space inviting for a break between classes or a place to study.


Find a first edition book published in 1593

Special Collections Room

third floor, PSU Millar Library

The term “Special Collections” sounds like it might involve a late fee, but in reality it’s a room in Portland State’s Millar Library that houses antique books, artifacts, erotica, comic books and many other unusual, pricey or simply shelf-challenged materials. In order to better preserve the materials in this room, wooden shelves have been replaced with new metal shelving this year. A librarian will help you get access to the room that is tucked away in the southeast corner of the third floor. The collections are searchable from the PSU library web site by doing a keyword search in Vikat for “**” and choosing “Special Collections” from the Location drop down menu. This will display records for the approximately 1,700 items that are catalogued there.


Harvest corn

Portland State University’s Community Garden

Twelfth Avenue and Montgomery

It’s hard to tell that Portland State’s Community Garden – at the corner of Twelfth and Montgomery – was nearly destroyed last winter during the demolition of Adeline Hall.  The garden is recovering and thriving with the support of students and PSU administration and is now bursting with flowers and dozens of varieties of fruits and vegetables. Corn stalks about five feet tall and even taller sunflowers standout among the radishes, squash, strawberries and many other varieties. “Students involved with the garden this year have put in many hours of sweat equity,” said Lisa Durden, community garden coordinator. These efforts have included spreading soil, shaping the new garden, laying down bark paths, planting berry bushes and fruit trees, digging irrigation channels and installing a wheelchair accessible pathway in a section of the garden.

“The garden has the potential of being an ideal ground for hands-on sustainability projects on campus,” Durden said. “Future projects include turning the garden into a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat, a small windmill which will generate electricity in the garden, a system of rain barrels to collect and conserve water, a garden book library, and a donation garden to assist those experiencing hunger.”
Students living on campus receive first priority in reserving one of the 68 plots. The next opportunity to obtain one will be in mid-March of 2006. Four of the plots exceed wheelchair accessibility standards, and the path to the tool shed is also fully accessible.  If you are interested in learning more about the garden or tending a plot, contact Lisa Durden, garden coordinator, at [email protected].


Read outside during a downpour

Urban and Public Affairs rooftop courtyard

Because of Portland’s mild climate, on most days you can read a book outside without worrying that the pages will freeze into a solid block. Rain, on the other hand, poses a serious threat to your books throughout much of the year. If you crave fresh air and don’t want your “Introduction to Chemistry” or “Dostoevski” textbooks to turn to mush, check out the College of Urban and Public Affairs fourth floor covered rooftop courtyard. Chairs and tables are plentiful and you can move them around to get your choice view, from downtown office towers to west hills forest canopy and mansions. The best way to get there on a rainy day is through the College of Urban and Public Affairs building that holds Seattle’s Best Coffee. Enter on the southside and take the stairs up to the fourth floor. This will bring you to the covered section of the rooftop courtyard. A wetter option is to take an elevator from the central building of the College of Urban Affairs and to exit on the fourth floor, then cross an uncovered bridge to the courtyard. Even on a dry day, the courtyard is a beautiful place to visit and watch the city from a bird’s eye view.


Study if you’re in it for the long haul

Student Lounge, Smith Memorial Center, fourth floor

Even a world record shot put throw of 76 feet wouldn’t make it to the end of this student lounge. The study hall on the fourth floor of Smith is approximately 100 feet long, 14 feet wide, and is divided into eight semi-private sections. Each section has comfortable sofa chairs with windows overlooking the Park Blocks that provide a nice view into the canopy of trees. On a summer afternoon when most areas of campus were relatively quiet, there was one student studying here at the fourth floor student lounge. “I think we need more space like this,” said James Wright, who is pursuing a double major in anthropology and urban studies. “I like to be able to read and eat lunch while I’m working. It would be nice if there were more spaces like this where you could take a nap between classes.”