PSU College Station – School Expansion Continues Without Approved Master Plan

A while back, we contacted the City to express our concerns over a number of proposed developments in the vicinity of  Portland State University. It seems that unlike many other large institutions, PSU’s continued expansion is being done without the guidance of a City-approved Master Plan. The latest proposal on the table is the 16-story 283 unit College Station residential hall to be located on the block bordered by SW 5th and 6th, College and Jackson Streets. If this area sounds familiar, that’s because last fall, the owner of one of the remaining vintage houses on the block fought with Tri-Met over their attempted acquisition of his property along with the rest of the block. He prevailed, but most of the properties surrounding his home have since been leveled after Tri-Met acquired what PSU didn’t already own. Tri-Met and PSU are now collaborating on the new project, along with Austin, Texas-based developers American Campus Communities.

One of the now endangered buildings on this same block  is a fairly nice early 20th century brick apartment building at the corner of SW 5th and Jackson. This 3-story (plus a basement) building has stood more than a century and is one of the last remaining vestiges of  the type of residential Portland that existed in that area prior to urban renewal and the growth of PSU. The demolition of this building would call into question PSU’s highly touted sustainability efforts; not only would that be a tremendous waste of embodied energy and material resources, it would also mean the continued erosion of what little is left in that area of the historic and cultural resources of early Portland. Isn’t there a way that the old can be integrated into the new?

More information on the proposed new development can be found here.


1 Comment

Filed under Historic Preservation, Sustainability

One response to “PSU College Station – School Expansion Continues Without Approved Master Plan

  1. Tanya March

    Brandon started this group Don’t Just Demolish Portland State’s Past!

    There is another building that has been at risk for years. I myself am more concerned that when this one falls that its neighbor a city landmark will soon follow. That would leave a large block open for development. On the old master plan this was to be a grade school site something I think could be built and the older buildings function as offices for that use. PSU students with grade school children travel to Chapman for education, a very over crowded school. This site was once going to be the location of the Rec. Center the trees won that battle. Portland State University applied for a permit to demolish this green wooden frame c.1885 house located at 1633 SW 11th Avenue on August 26, 2009. The wait period is over.

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