Community Engagement in OMSI District Planning

OMSI District

It started as a shared vision.

Rooted in STEM learning, inclusiveness, and innovation, the idea for an “OMSI District” has evolved through conversations with neighborhood associations, communities, partners in numerous fields, local and regional governments, Tribal governments, and industry leaders over more than a decade. Because of the OMSI District’s bold vision and transformative potential, community engagements will continue. Some recent milestones include:

  • 2015: Developed a 20-year vision and new five-year strategic plan (2015-2020) with significant community input and design charrettes, including the development of high-level goals for the OMSI District.
  • 2016: Worked with renowned global design firm Snøhetta to develop an OMSI District Master Plan. The plan includes detailed input from Prosper Portland, City bureaus, district stakeholders, neighbors, community partners and developers.
  • 2016 – 2017: Conducted quarterly meetings with City bureaus, commissioners, landowners in the district, adjacent neighbors, State agencies and private companies, to understand the infrastructure and public investment needed to support the OMSI District.
  • 2017: Hosted convenings to inform the City’s Quadrant Planning and 2035 Comprehensive Plan design process. 
  • OMSI participates in two Design Advice Review hearings with the Design Commission  and hosted community charrettes
  • 2019: Developed a five-year strategic plan (2020-2025) with significant community input and design charrettes. Plan launched in 2020.
  • 2020: Portland Community College and Portland Opera join the master planning process.
  • 2020 – 2022: Collaborating with the City of Portland, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) and a Center for Tribal Nations Advisory Committee to consider the optimal combination of programs, uses, and activities and the values and principles that should guide future joint efforts to develop a Center for Tribal Nations and a waterfront education park.  
  • 2021 – 2022: Conversing with community groups, associations, landowners, commissioners, city bureaus and agencies about future opportunities in the OMSI District.
  • 2022: Working on a Civic Value Framework for the OMSI District with We All Rise and Field States.

Most recently, OMSI engaged We All Rise and Field States, to co-design community-driven project components with diverse community stakeholders. We are working to define a Civic Value Framework based on community input that will describe the long-term economic opportunity, cultural identity, local technology-enabled entrepreneurship, inclusive and high-quality neighborhood design, and ecological sustainability goals for the OMSI District.

We All Rise and Field States engaged in conversations with a broad group of more than 50 participants who were deliberately chosen to represent a wide variety of perspectives. As outside consultants, We All Rise and Field States are uniquely placed to both expand on OMSI’s existing network and to solicit neutral, balanced opinions from an extended ecosystem of changemakers in our region.

Throughout the listening sessions, a diverse array of ideas and challenges were shared. Central were suggestions for how OMSI could design and animate the District with integrity. Some suggestions focused on the physical fabric of the District, while others focused on the potential programming within the District. Others called on OMSI to be a regional leader, emphasizing the organization’s responsibility to collaborate across sectors to generate equitable, sustainable value. This Listening Report centers the collective conversations We All Rise and Field States had with the greater OMSI network.

Future OMSI District

The OMSI District Master Plan is to create a one-of-a-kind neighborhood that is an inclusive community destination with innovation, culture, arts, and science learning at its heart.

More For You