Oregon Sustainability Center denied financing
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Oregon Sustainability Center failed to secure financing during the 2012 Oregon Legislative Session.
The contentious Oregon Sustainability Center hit yet another road block this week as the Oregon Legislature adjourned Monday without approving financing for the showpiece project.
The high-rise project, slated for the Portland State University campus and planned to be built according to the ultra-efficient living building standard — essentially promising a building that doesn't require power from the grid and is built with local materials — has been contentious in part for its $61 million price tag and publicly funded model.
The legislature had been asked to approve bonds needed to finance the building, the cost of construction would be shared between the city of Portland, the Oregon University System and other funding sources.
Portland Mayor Sam Adams released a statement Monday responding to the Oregon Legislature's lack of approval for the bonds.
"It is disappointing that partisan, election-year politics trumped progress.This is evidenced by the fact that the Federal Economic Development Administration awarded the project a grant, but the state refused to provide a market rate loan," Adams said in the statement.
He went on to thank the building's supporters and said, "We will continue to work with our partners to explore financing alternatives to make the Oregon Sustainability Center a reality."
It's unclear what the next course of action might be on the project, which has been underway for years without firm footing, despite support from businesses including Intel, Sanyo Solar, Skanska, Umpqua Bank and others.
Supporters of the project have positioned it as a groundbreaking building essential to retaining Oregon's leadership in green building. Opponents say it's an expensive and risky project that leaves taxpayers on the hook.
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