OMSI District Master Plan Receives Approval From the Portland Design Commission

OMSI District

By Hibo Abtidon

Gard Communications

Publication date: February 17, 2023

Photo Credit: ZGF Architects

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 City of Portland will be a key partner in the next stages of
planning and development.

“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, 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 a
vision 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
• 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

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
• 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.”

Further information about the OMSI District can be found at