Adams pulls plug on Oregon Sustainability Center
By Erik Siemers
Mayor Sam Adams waved the white flag Friday, pulling the public on the Oregon Sustainability Center project.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams on Friday pulled the plug on the Oregon Sustainability Center, a one-time $120 million project the city hoped would become the nation's first high-rise built to the ultra-green Living Building standard.
The city last month reached a deal with a private partner — construction engineering firm Interface Engineering — to lease one-third of the building. With that in hand, Adams had hoped to bring a scaled-back, $50 million version of the project to the City Council for a vote sometime this month.
But on Friday Adams said that despite the recent progress of the project, it became clear this week "that I don't have the votes necessary to pass the project through Portland City Council and we won't be moving forward."
"I want to thank all our partners, including Interface and (developer) Gerding Edlen, who participated in this process," Adams said in a prepared statement. "I hope a new partnership will emerge in the future to successfully build a high-rise living building here in Portland."
Adams' decision brings to an end the city's three-year effort to construct a beacon to sustainable construction.
The City Council gave an initial green light to the project in August 2010 when it agreed to join the Oregon University System to become a partner in the building's ownership. That plan ultimately fell apart earlier this year when the Oregon Legislature failed to approve the bonds necessary to finance the OUS portion of the project.
In the interim, the project was scaled back from its original plan and had amassed a significant amount of industry support.
In his statement Friday, Adams pointed out that several companies had leveraged their work on the OSC project in other ways in their business including Interface, Skanska, GBD Architects, SERA Architects and Gerding Edlen.
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