Oregon Sustainability Center team to look for private backers

The Portland Development Commission's Patrick Quinton said the Oregon Sustainability Project will seek out private funding sources.

The Portland Development Commission's Patrick Quinton said the Oregon Sustainability Project will seek out private funding sources.

Supporters of the Oregon Sustainability Center say they are still committed to the ultra-green building project and will seek private investors to cover the financing — about $36 million — the group had hoped to secure from state bonds.

"We believe it can still be financed," said Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission.

Quinton pointed to the fact that 74 percent of the building's space has been leased, something that should be attractive to potential backers, but acknowledged that the tenant mix might have to be adjusted.

Financing of the project has always been the sticking point for the Oregon Sustainability Center. The bulk of the backing was to be Oregon University System bonds, the ones nixed this week by the Oregon Legislature. The rest is made up of city bonds, urban renewal area tax-increment financing, tax credits and a land contribution from the PDC. The OSC site — squarely on the Portland State University campus on Southwest Fifth Avenue at Montgomery — isn't included in the recently announced Portland State University urban renewal area. Instead its part of the South Park Blocks urban renewal area.

Conceived of as a showplace for the latest in green building technology, the Oregon Sustainability Center would aspire to meet criteria set up for Living Building certification — aiming for net-zero waste, energy and water use while building the structure with local materials.

The result would be a very expensive building — $61.7 million — sporting the latest in green building technology. Supporters describe the building as an incubator for cutting-edge building materials and an economic development driver.

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