Master Plan for 3MM SQFT Mixed-Use District Receives Approval from Portland Design Commission

OMSI District

The Registry

Publication date: February 20, 2023

The development process for the innovative neighborhood moves forward into the next stage. Photo credit: ZGF

PORTLAND, Ore. (Feb. 17, 2023) – Today, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry received approval for its OMSI District Master Plan from the City of Portland Design Commission. OMSI District leadership alongside key partners first presented the Master Plan to the Portland Design Commission in August of 2022 and have worked diligently over the last several months, in partnership with the City of Portland, to reach this milestone. This approval is a major step forward in bringing the OMSI District to fruition. The Master Plan will now go to the Portland City Council for approval.

“We have been working side by side with our partners – local, Tribal and regional government entities, nonprofits, and businesses to develop this Master Plan,” said OMSI President and CEO Erin Graham. “We’re thrilled to have received this approval from the Design Commission. The development of a neighborhood with innovation, arts, culture and science learning at its heart has been years in the making and now we are one step closer to making it a reality.”

Key Timeline:

  • In the past year, in addition to the Master Plan, Indigenous and Tribal partners have created avision for the Waterfront Education Park, which will be the first in the city to restore the Indigenous community’s presence on the Willamette River and address the shared challenges of sustainability, resilience and inclusion. They have also developed the vision for the Center for Tribal Nations, a future vertical development within the district that will celebrate and catalyze the power of Indigenous peoples’ cultures and presence on the river.
  • In 2021, The State of Oregon committed $5 million towards the construction of a new Water Avenue, a critical infrastructure investment in the OMSI District.
  • In 2020, Metro awarded a $750,000 grant to OMSI and the City of Portland that has facilitated engagement in the OMSI District with a broad coalition of Indigenous and Tribal partners.
  • In 2019, Mayor Ted Wheeler included the OMSI District as a top City priority and Prosper Portland was assigned as the bureau lead for the OMSI District.
  • In 2018, OMSI selected Portland-based Edlen & Co as the master developer and ZGF as the architect.

The planned OMSI District will:

  • Cover ten city blocks and include up to three million square feet of new mixed-use buildings.
  • Serve has a hub for innovation, arts, culture, science learning and climate action.
  • Include increased retail, restaurants, and public green space as well as waterfront access and learning opportunities and installations.
  • Feature the waterfront education park, created in collaboration with Tribal governments and Indigenous communities. The park will include public green space, plazas, restored riverfront habitat, hands-on outdoor science programming and interpretation that affirms, sustains and shares Indigenous ecological knowledge and cultural connection to the river.
  • Restore riverfront habitat.
  • Add up to 1,200 units of new housing with a minimum of 20% units for low-income families.
  • Become a city economic growth driver and financial source enabling OMSI to sustain and expand its educational programming across the region and in partnership with diverse audiences.
  • The district will showcase and advance climate solutions through transportation, next generation urban systems and technology, and OMSI science learning experiences advocating informed climate action.

“As an early supporter of the OMSI Central City Master Plan, I am pleased the design commission has given its approval,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “This district is key to pulling together both sides of the river and many important partners. The plan checks all the boxes: affordable housing, job creation, education and culture, and enhanced transportation—all important elements of a livable and inclusive community. It positions the Central Eastside as an anchor for the next stage of our city’s growth. It will generate momentum at a time when it is desperately needed.”