PCC, OHSU and PSU will team with City of Portland on large-scale public health center
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland’s three largest public colleges are teaming up with the City of Portland to build a new $100 million education and health center on the downtown campus of Portland State University.
The historic project will turn a surface parking lot at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Montgomery Street into a new home for the Oregon Health & Science University-PSU School of Public Health (Portland’s first school of public health), PSU’s Graduate School of Education, Portland Community College’s dental programs and City of Portland offices.
The entire Dental Program operation will move from the Sylvania Campus’ Health Technology Building to 30,000 square feet on the second floor of the building by 2020. Disciplines to relocate are Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, and Dental Laboratory Technology, all high-demand oral health care specialties capable of serving more than 130 students annually. The PCC dental clinic, which treats about 2,000 patients a year, also will be moving from Sylvania to downtown.
“This project underscores something PCC does well – Career Technical Education,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui. “Thanks to this new arrangement with our partners downtown, we can capitalize on the CTE role that PCC plays in the oral health field.
“We greatly appreciate the City of Portland’s willingness to collaborate on this with all of us,” he added. “The city is an incredible partner that we value tremendously and whose support on a number of initiatives helps to change the lives of PCC students.”
Mitsui shared that PCC’s role in this partnership is due the voter-approved 2008 bond measure.
“What you see here today is an example of how local investment in higher education can open doors and create incredible opportunities – ones that benefit students and the community at large because we are pooling our talent and resources for the greater good,” he added.
The move will enable PCC to be located in close proximity to PSU and OHSU, two of its largest higher education partners. Closer access will encourage even more collaboration among the three institutions, strengthening opportunities for students to smoothly transfer from PCC to PSU to pursue advanced degrees. It also enables PCC to build on its training with the OHSU School of Dentistry, where clinical rotations with PCC students already take place.
“We have a lot to celebrate today,” said OHSU President Joe Robertson.
The building — expected to open in September 2020 — marks the first time all three institutions and the city will share one space.“We are very excited to leverage the power of PSU, OHSU and PCC to train Portland’s future health and education leaders,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel.
At 200,000 square feet and up to nine stories tall, it will be one the biggest academic buildings on PSU’s main campus and bring low-cost mental health services, a community dental clinic, city offices and ground-floor retail and restaurants to a newly revitalized area of south downtown.
“New educational options and public services will be available to Portland residents, right there, in the heart of PSU’s campus,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Access to this building is prime – street car, max and several bus lines are just steps away. The new downtown development is going to provide unparalleled opportunities for students and the community at large for years to come.”
Fact Sheet: Fourth and Montgomery Building
Who – Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland Community College and the City of Portland.
What – Collaborative project will house OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, PSU Graduate School of Education, PCC’s dental programs and clinic and City of Portland offices.
Size – 200,000 square feet, seven to nine stories.
Cost – Estimated $100 million. PSU has requested that the Oregon Legislature approve $51 million in bonds for the project, and it is at the top of the list for recommended capital funding. Additional funds will come from all four owners: PSU, OHSU, PCC and the City of Portland. PSU will buy the land, currently a PSU parking lot, from Portland Development Commission.
Timeline – The request for proposals for a design firm will be posted in April, and design will start in July. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018, and the building is expected to open in September 2020.
Features – First floor will be mixed use space leased by restaurants and retail; PSU Graduate School of Education will have counseling clinic at low cost to the public (part of education service and training for school counselors); and PCC will offer a community dental clinic serving about 2,000 patients per year.