August 04, 2010

Oregon Congressional Delegation Announces Securing $300K in Appropriations

Portland, Ore. — Portland City Council today unanimously supported a resolution directing the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to initiate schematic design for the Oregon Sustainability Center.

“The Oregon Sustainability Center is a pioneering project. We’re doing something here that’s never been done before at this scale,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “We’re seizing an opportunity to show the world that Portland’s engineers, architects, developers, contractors and building professionals are at the forefront of green-building innovation. By becoming a tenant and investor, the City of Portland again demonstrates we can be the leading city in clean technology innovation.”

Demonstrating federal support for this unprecedented project, Congressman David Wu (D-OR) spoke at City Council this morning, alongside representatives from the offices of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“The history of America, the history of our economy is innovation,” said Rep. Wu. “The Oregon Sustainability Center will serve as a focal point for people, ideas and innovation focused on green energy and efficiency.”

The delegation also announced this morning that they have secured a $300,000 appropriation for the OSC in the Senate Energy and Water bill.

“Portland has long been the green-building industry leader for the nation,” said Johnell Bell, representing Sen. Merkley at Council. “To stay the leader, we must continue to evolve. Senator Merkley remains committed to the Oregon Sustainability Center and to Oregon becoming the hub of the new clean energy economy.”

As one of the highest performing commercial buildings in the world, OSC will achieve triple net-zero performance in energy and water use and carbon emissions. It is designed to meet the world’s most stringent green building criteria: the Cascadia Region Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge™. The design will cost $900,000 to complete, split equally between PDC and the OUS. The design team, led by Sera Architects, Gerding Edlen Development and GBD Architects, expects to commence schematic design in mid-September.

OSC is a first-of-a-kind synthesis of unparalleled environmental performance with an integrated sustainability agenda, serving both as a technological model and as a hub for sustainable practices, policy, education, research and entrepreneurship.

Testimony by representatives of SolarWorld, Intel and General Electric emphasized the private sector’s enthusiasm for the project’s job creation potential as well as its capacity to create an immediate market for Oregon products and services and incubate the commercialization of new products.

“Building the OSC will not only create a physical structure, it creates a nexus for innovation, for creating new discoveries, new products and new policies,” said Scott Shull of the Intel Corporation. “We stand ready to contribute in-kind technology to help make this project a success.”

Design and construction of the Center will create more than 1,300 jobs in the near term, with workers gaining unique experience in innovative prototype building that will accommodate a growing demand for green construction.

“Thirty-five percent of the construction industry’s skilled laborers are out of work right now,” said John Mohlis, representing the Northwest Trades/Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council. “They’re ready and eager to get back to work, but I know they’d be proud to put their skills to work on such a cutting-edge project.”

Located on the edge of the Portland State University campus in downtown Portland, OSC will bring together academic, government, nonprofit and business sectors to advance the region’s innovation in sustainability. It will be a replicable model for meeting the challenges of the 21st century economy by creating new industries and spawning new green jobs.

“Having the OSC on campus will provide us with a world-class teaching and research facility,” said Lindsay Desrochers of Portland State University. “This facility will serve to further PSU’s already strong reputation as a leader in the research and development of green technology.”

A robust research agenda will maximize OSC’s experimental opportunities. A solid connection will be made between the research agenda and the businesses that can turn research into marketable products and services.

The OSC demonstrates the intersection of Portland’s Climate Action Plan and Portland’s Five-Year Economic Development Strategy, both led by Mayor Adams and adopted by City Council in 2009.