PSU partners with City of Portland, PCC, OHSU, to build $100 million center for education and health care

Draft rendering of new GSE building

Portland’s three largest public colleges are teaming up with the City of Portland to build a new education and health center in the heart of Portland State University’s downtown campus.

The historic project will turn a parking lot at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Montgomery Street into a new home for PSU’s Graduate School of Education, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Portland Community College’s dental programs and some Portland city offices. The $100 million building—expected to open in September 2020—marks the first time the three campuses will share one building.

“We are very excited to leverage the power of PSU, OHSU, and PCC to train Portland’s future health and education leaders,” PSU President Wim Wiewel said. “This unique collaboration takes us to a new level of community cooperation, one that sets a standard for Portland, the region and the state.”

The building, one of the biggest on PSU’s main campus, will bring low-cost mental health services, PCC’s dental clinic, city offices and ground-floor retail stores to a newly revitalized area of south downtown, next to a public transportation hub with MAX, streetcar and bus service.

PSU’s Graduate School of Education has more than 50 programs that prepare and train more educators in Oregon than any other institution in the state. The school also trains mental health counselors and houses a community counseling clinic that provides low-cost mental health services to more than 1,100 people a year. The school has been in a temporary space since the School of Business Administration took over the GSE’s original building for a renovation and expansion project two years ago. 

The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health began in July 2016 with a vision of educating the next generation of public health leaders to confront and combat the underlying causes of health disparity throughout Oregon. Since then, the school—which has been temporarily housed in multiple locations—has enrolled more than 1,200 undergraduates and 250 graduate students pursuing degrees in 16 public health programs.

The school, and forthcoming building, represent an expansion of existing Portland State and OHSU collaborations, including the Collaborative Life Sciences Building and the Viking Pavilion, an athletic and events venue on Portland State’s campus that will open in 2018.

PCC’s Dental Program will move from the Sylvania Campus—the oldest of its four comprehensive campuses—to the second floor of the Fourth and Montgomery building by 2020. Disciplines to relocate are dental assisting, dental hygiene, and dental laboratory technology, all high-demand oral health care specialties capable of serving more than 130 students annually. The PCC dental clinic, which treats about 2,000 patients a year, also will be moving from Sylvania to downtown.

The move will enable PCC to be located in close proximity to PSU and OHSU, two of its largest higher education partners. Closer access will encourage even more collaboration among the three institutions, strengthening opportunities for students to smoothly transfer from PCC to PSU to pursue advanced degrees. It also enables PCC to build on its training with the OHSU School of Dentistry where clinical rotations with PCC students already take place.

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