OMSI District Development

OMSI is at the threshold of change. For more than 75 years, the museum has been a beloved Oregon institution and leader in hands-on science education. In collaboration with valued partners, OMSI is working to expand science education for the community and create an inclusive, vibrant new district on the southeast bank of the Willamette River in Portland’s Central Eastside.

What We Envision

The OMSI District will be a one-of-a-kind mixed-use development, neighborhood, and community destination with inclusive innovation and OMSI science learning at its heart. This new district will create a completely unique, immersive experience in which people can work, live, learn, and play. At the heart of this district vision is an expanded, invigorated OMSI campus—alive day and night with learning activity.

In collaboration with partners, OMSI will use its master plan to create an innovative mixed-use district that is:

●  An inclusive and equitable community destination and neighborhood for the public’s benefit 

●  A center for sustainability

●  A city economic growth driver and OMSI revenue generator

●  A center for excellence in innovation, science learning, and teaching

Plans for the OMSI district currently include:

●  10 city blocks with up to three million square feet of new transit-oriented development, including over one million square feet of office space  

●  A waterfront education park aligned with the Eastbank Riverfront Plan centered in Indigenous ecological knowledge 

●  Up to 1,000 units of new housing including a minimum of 20 percent affordable units 

●  Public gathering spaces to provide connection, renewal, and culturally relevant and educational programs and events 

●  Next-generation sustainable urban development 

Engaging With the Community

As part of a Metro grant recently awarded to OMSI and its partners, research and study plans are now underway to determine the feasibility for placing a Center for Tribal Nations in the OMSI District as well as the development of a waterfront education park.

The museum and its partners will host listening sessions this spring to engage with key groups from the community. These sessions will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share their ideas for how the waterfront might be developed to support future uses of the land. 

For more information on the Center for Tribal Nations, please visit their website.

To participate in Waterfront Education Park listening sessions, please fill out this form.

Project History

In 2008, OMSI partnered with Portland-based Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects and set forth Vision and Guiding Principles to develop a concept plan for a future campus. Economic conditions and new opportunities continued to evolve the plan. TriMet’s completion of the MAX Orange line and the Tilikum Crossing in 2015 connected the OMSI District to the greater Portland Metro Area like never before and opened new opportunities for collaboration and economic development.

In 2016, OMSI began working with renowned global design firm Snøhetta on an OMSI District Master Plan, a market-driven strategy that outlined the best economic and environmental uses of OMSI’s physical property. Input gathered from diverse stakeholders—including OMSI members, families, neighbors, community members and partners, industry professionals, and city and state agencies—was key to informing a holistic plan that takes into account future opportunities and needs in the area. 

After completion of OMSI's Master Plan in mid-2017, OMSI issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Master Developer, which concluded in July 2018 with the selection of Gerding Edlen - now known as Edlen & Co - a Portland, Oregon-based real estate investment and development firm. As the master developer, Edlen & Co is responsible for executing the master plan and developing the OMSI campus. The firm will also consult with OMSI on possible revisions and help refine the master plan.

In 2020, Metro awarded a $750,000 grant to the City of Portland and OMSI that will allow them to engage a broad coalition of partners to explore the possibility for the development of a Center for Tribal Nations. The project seeks to leverage the redevelopment of the OMSI property to model a new partnership between the museum, tribal and intertribal organizations, and the City of Portland to restore the native community’s presence on the Willamette and address the shared challenges of sustainability, resilience, and inclusion. Also included for consideration in this first phase of development is a waterfront education park.

Project Partners

Development Core Team
Amplified by Design
Edlen & Co
Farkas Group
Holland Planning Innovations
Long Haul Capital
SERA Architects
Shiels Obletz Johnsen
Urban Systems

AEI Engineering
Buro Happold
DKS Associates
Civic Technology Ventures
Mayer/Reed, Inc.
Puttman Infrastructure, Inc.
Rick Williams Consulting
Sherwood Design Engineers
Sustainable Water

NGOs & Local Businesses
Annie's Urban Farm
Center for Sustainable Infrastructure
City of Roses EcoDistricts Institute
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Energy Trust of Oregon
Evergreen Museum
Food Corps
Friends of the Green Loop
Modelado Foundation
New Buildings Institute
Oregon Botanical Project
PDX Urban Gardens
Rocky Mountain Institute
Salmon Safe
Sustainable Northwest
Sustainable Northwest Wood
We All Rise

Universities (Including Students & Graduates)
Lewis & Clark College Pitzer College
Portland State University
University of Oregon
University of Puget Sound

Tribal Representatives
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI)
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
Nez Perce Tribe

Public Agencies & Utilities
City of Portland
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Prosper Portland

Technology Consultants & NGOs
Forth Mobility
Technology Association of Oregon
The Wave

In the News

Click the “+” on the right to view recent news articles.

OMSI Is Looking to Develop a Gathering Space for the Native American Community Along the Willamette River - Willamette Week (Jan 2021)

Metro Awards Grant to OMSI and the City of Portland - Metro (Jan 2021)

OMSI Master Plan Receives Design Advice (Images) - Next Portland (Oct 2019)

Street uses, Green Loop at Issue in OMSI Master Plan - Daily Journal of Commerce (June 2019)

OMSI Proposes up to 2 million Square Feet of Development in Portland’s Central Eastside - The Oregonian (June 2019)

OMSI's chief on what's in store for its 18-acre riverfront property - Portland Business Journal (July 2018)

Updated: OMSI’s Master Developer is Gerding Edlen - Daily Journal of Commerce (July 2018)

For OMSI's 18-acre campus, a prominent Portland developer will shape an ambitious plan - Portland Business Journal (July 2018)

The latest on OMSI's ambitious Central Eastside expansion ambitions - Portland Business Journal (April 2018)

Portland Waterfront in Line for Expanded Development Near OMSI - ENR Northwest (Feb 2018)

OMSI Pushes Density, Flexibility in Campus Plan - Daily Journal of Commerce (Jan 2018)

New Waterfront Complex Planned Near OMSI - KOIN (Jan 2018)

Waterfront Complex Planned Near OMSI for Paddlers - Portland Tribune (Jan 2018)

The Future of OMSI - SE Examiner (Dec 2017)

Category Archives: OMSI Master Plan - Next Portland (Nov 2017)

James Beard Public Market Still Eyeing OMSI land - The Oregonian (Nov 2017) 

Is OMSI's Land the Next Big Waterfront Development? - The Oregonian (Nov 2017)

OMSI Wants to Realign Water Ave and Build a Two-Way Cycle Track - Bike Portland (Oct 2017)

Plan to Innovate Area Around OMSI in the Works - KGW (Oct 2017)

OMSI Reveals Master Plan - Daily Journal of Commerce (Oct 2017)

OMSI Contact

For any questions or media related inquiries, please refer to the points of contact listed below.  

John Farmer

Marketing & Communications Manager

Ken Wilson

VP of Campus Development