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Old Posted Nov 15, 2008, 4:59 PM
IHEARTPDX IHEARTPDX is offline
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OMSI Expansion

OMSI invites ideas for big expansion
by Stephen Beaven, The Oregonian
Friday November 14, 2008, 9:55 PM

Starting early next year, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will begin an intensive statewide campaign to seek support and sharpen the focus of a proposed half-billion-dollar expansion that could include new development on 14 acres surrounding the museum.
The long-range plan calls for a project that would create more than 1 million square feet of additional space for the museum and for developers who want to build on OMSI-owned land at the museum's riverfront home in Southeast Portland.

With light rail and streetcar expansion planned for the site, the project would make the 64-year-old museum a key component in Portland's effort to create a science and technology corridor spanning the Willamette River. The museum would link to Oregon Health & Sciences University and Portland State University.

The project also would generate revenue for the museum, which had to restructure a state loan early this year.

The museum currently includes traveling exhibits, camps and classes for kids, hands-on learning centers for preschoolers and a five-story Omnimax theater. It also hosts conferences and teacher development programs. But it is especially popular among parents and their children.
The expansion remains in the early stages, and details regarding funding, the nature of the surrounding development and other issues are uncertain. The $500 million price tag is especially tenuous, OMSI President Nancy Stueber said.

"There are so many questions that have to be answered before you could apply any reality to that number," Stueber said.

The total cost -- and how much of it will come from OMSI's pockets -- should become clearer as museum officials begin to tour the state in January. The two-year public outreach is expected to help shape museum plans and generate interest among potential developers.

Serious discussions about the expansion began in 2006 and resulted in a master plan that outlines several broad priorities. The expanded campus will focus on sustainability, science education and careers, and the creation of a public gathering space for conversations about the environment. It will also serve as a moneymaker for the museum.

Creating new revenue is particularly important for OMSI, which relies on donations and revenue from memberships, tickets, retail and its restaurant. The museum recently restructured a $15 million state loan from the early '90s that it had struggled to pay off. With help from the city, the state and corporate donors, OMSI has now paid about $10 million, making the remaining principal more manageable.

Stueber doesn't know yet how the museum will structure the development deals on its land. Although the new development is expected to mirror master plan priorities, Stueber said the museum hasn't decided on any specifics.

"It could be a lot of things," she said. "We've already had a lot of partners approach us with specific ideas. But we haven't settled on any yet."

Those decisions will be made starting in 2012. Construction will follow, and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2017.

But obstacles lie ahead, including potential zoning changes in the central eastside industrial district.

"It could be somewhat controversial," said Stephen Iwata of the Portland Planning Bureau. "The central east side has always been somewhat reluctant to see changes to the industrial sanctuary."

And then there's the economy, which could make funding difficult.

But despite gloomy financial forecasts, now is a good time to plan a big project, said Ethan Seltzer, director of the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University.

"We're in a down cycle now," Seltzer said. "But we're going to come out of it at some point. Then we're going to grow, so projects like this are not so far-fetched."

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Old Posted Nov 16, 2008, 12:34 AM
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Hanna's SMART Tower (which is essentially just a showcase of emerging green energy-producing technologies) would be a natural complement to an OMSI expansion. Plus he already owns land south of OMSI.
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Old Posted Nov 16, 2008, 10:56 PM
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I was going to say that starting construction on any projects now might not be the best idea, since the economy is still down, but if construction won't start till perhaps 2012 that shouldn't hurt, since hopefully we will be coming out at the very least of our current slump.

Getting funding right is an issue, hopefully in a year or two though funding sources might be more stable or whatever.
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Old Posted Nov 17, 2008, 1:07 AM
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Hanna's SMART Tower (which is essentially just a showcase of emerging green energy-producing technologies) would be a natural complement to an OMSI expansion. Plus he already owns land south of OMSI.
I'd love to see that happen, but south of OMSI might not be the best spot. How about at the east end of the Marquam bridge, northeast of OMSI? It might also be a way to make people a little more positive about the ugly duckling of Portland's bridges. (Although, honestly, it's my favorite after the Fremont.)

If we're going to build a tower like that, on the east side, I'd prefer it connects OMSI to the rest of inner SE PDX, and expands the skyline with them, rather than having a big gap like Big Pink appears to have with Downtown PDX right now.
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Old Posted Mar 23, 2010, 8:46 PM
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Expansion, development plans for Portland's OMSI, nearby land put on hold
By Steve Beaven, The Oregonian
March 22, 2010, 8:12PM

The project would create a community gathering place at OMSI's Southeast Portland home, with more than 1 million square feet of new development that would be worth up to $500 million. Museum officials planned to tour the state starting in 2009 to garner support for the expansion and sharpen its focus.

But then OMSI's revenue plunged, there were pay cuts and layoffs and the "listening tour" was scaled back. None of the money for the development has been raised and the massive expansion was put on hold.

"When the economy turned, it slowed down our planning and we focused on the core operations of the museum," Stueber said recently, adding that customer service and the quality of exhibits are priorities now.

Still, Stueber believes that raising money will be easier once the economy improves. She thinks the planned addition of light rail and streetcar stops near the site in the next few years will aid OMSI's development. And, she said, the expansion remains part of OMSI's long-range plans.

"I think it's going to happen eventually," Stueber said. "I just don't know the time frame."

The expansion project was designed, starting in 2006, to take advantage of the vacant land surrounding much of OMSI's riverfront home at 1945 S.E. Water Avenue.

The idea was to expand the museum and invite public and private developers to put up their own projects on OMSI's property. The museum's expansion, Stueber said, would be "a very small portion" of the entire development.

The focus of the projects would be sustainability, science education and workforce development.

When Stueber spoke publicly about the plan in November 2008, she added several caveats. The expansion was in the embryonic stage, she said, many of the details had not been ironed out and the half-billion-dollar price tag was not set in stone.

The project has not evolved much beyond that point.

But visitors on Monday said the addition of public transportation could make the museum a more attractive destination. Spring Break is one of the museum's busiest times of year.

"Today when I was driving around and couldn't find a place to park, I thought, 'Gosh, it sure would be nice to just hop on the train,'" said Shawna Shoemake, who lives in Clackamas County.

It's not unusual in such tough economic times for cultural organizations to retrench, said Christine D'Arcy, the executive director of the Oregon Cultural Trust. Fundraising is difficult, some arts organizations are furloughing employees and there are many empty seats at arts events.

In many cases, growth is not an option.

"In Portland, I can't think any facility expansion plans that are under way," she said.

OMSI has endured its own financial troubles.

After revenue rose to $27 million in 2008, it dropped to $18 million last year. In late 2008, the museum cut its budget by 10 percent and laid off 20 employees.

Thus, the future of OMSI's expansion plan depends on the future of the economy and how soon it bounces back, said Steve Cox, the chairman of the museum's board of directors.

There's also uncertainty about the project because it remains in the early stages, Cox said. The focus of the expansion may not be clear for several years.

"What it is today," Cox said, "could be different than it is five years from today."

-- Stephen Beaven

© 2010 OregonLive.com. All rights reserved.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/i...portlands.html
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Old Posted Oct 14, 2016, 6:53 PM
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OMSI Development

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Old Posted Oct 14, 2016, 8:25 PM
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sooo... what's the over/under on when Snohetta opens a Portland office?
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2016, 7:22 AM
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This is awesome, for reaching out to the international architecture world, the Portland metro really hit it out of the park by getting Snohetta for wanting to be involved in so many key projects here. I hope we get to see them all become reality.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2016, 10:03 PM
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This is awesome, for reaching out to the international architecture world, the Portland metro really hit it out of the park by getting Snohetta for wanting to be involved in so many key projects here. I hope we get to see them all become reality.
Living in Oslo I can attest to Snøhetta being a great firm.

Regarding the OMSI project I only hope that they do not make any decisions that close the door tearing down the Marquam Bridge and replacing it with something lower and more attractive which hopefully can lead to I-5 being put under surface streets on the Central Eastside and opening up the Eastside waterfront for high quality urbanism. In Oslo we tunneled under the city and fjord to pretty much eliminate throughgoing traffic from the city center. That will be much more difficult in Portland given the elevation of the 405 on the Westside of the river.
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Old Posted Oct 15, 2016, 11:44 PM
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Living in Oslo I can attest to Snøhetta being a great firm.

Regarding the OMSI project I only hope that they do not make any decisions that close the door tearing down the Marquam Bridge and replacing it with something lower and more attractive which hopefully can lead to I-5 being put under surface streets on the Central Eastside and opening up the Eastside waterfront for high quality urbanism. In Oslo we tunneled under the city and fjord to pretty much eliminate throughgoing traffic from the city center. That will be much more difficult in Portland given the elevation of the 405 on the Westside of the river.
Removing the Marquam and I-5 corridor along the river would be the best thing Portland could do since removing Harbor Drive. That space amounts to a waste of about 30-40 city blocks with very little benefit to people in the surrounding neighborhoods and downtown. Enabling long commutes through downtown is very bad for Portland. Some day this area might be a park and space for a few thousand people.

The remainder of traffic originally heading East on I84 could be routed to Powell with a few upgrades, and would very likely take other routes around, not through, the city. This sort of story has played out many times in Europe and some places in the US. We just need the leadership.
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  #11  
Old Posted Oct 16, 2016, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Pavlov's Dog View Post
Living in Oslo I can attest to Snøhetta being a great firm.

Regarding the OMSI project I only hope that they do not make any decisions that close the door tearing down the Marquam Bridge and replacing it with something lower and more attractive which hopefully can lead to I-5 being put under surface streets on the Central Eastside and opening up the Eastside waterfront for high quality urbanism. In Oslo we tunneled under the city and fjord to pretty much eliminate throughgoing traffic from the city center. That will be much more difficult in Portland given the elevation of the 405 on the Westside of the river.
The Marquam will only be removed if there is ever a massive earthquake that brings it down. I don't see it ever coming down voluntarily. Also, it would be a mistake for Portland to lose a major job center to replace it with "high quality urbanism." The Inner Eastside Industrial is a very active and healthy industrial park that should stay a well protected industrial park because of the amount of jobs it provides to those that live in the city. If anything, helping that grow would be better for the city.

Also, the cost of tunneling I-5, I would rather see that money go to putting in a subway system or a regional rail system that stretched out to outlying communities and towns.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2016, 8:58 AM
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The Marquam will only be removed if there is ever a massive earthquake that brings it down. I don't see it ever coming down voluntarily. Also, it would be a mistake for Portland to lose a major job center to replace it with "high quality urbanism." The Inner Eastside Industrial is a very active and healthy industrial park that should stay a well protected industrial park because of the amount of jobs it provides to those that live in the city. If anything, helping that grow would be better for the city.

Also, the cost of tunneling I-5, I would rather see that money go to putting in a subway system or a regional rail system that stretched out to outlying communities and towns.
Improving road infrastructure and public transportation don't have to be mutually exclusive. In Oslo we instituted a road tax and proceeds from that went to both roads and public transportation. We've tunneled a lot of main thoroughfares underground and build new roads. We've also build new subway lines, streetcars and railways. I can see such a model being useful for Portland as well.
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Old Posted Oct 16, 2016, 12:33 PM
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The Marquam will only be removed if there is ever a massive earthquake that brings it down. I don't see it ever coming down voluntarily. Also, it would be a mistake for Portland to lose a major job center to replace it with "high quality urbanism." The Inner Eastside Industrial is a very active and healthy industrial park that should stay a well protected industrial park because of the amount of jobs it provides to those that live in the city. If anything, helping that grow would be better for the city.

Also, the cost of tunneling I-5, I would rather see that money go to putting in a subway system or a regional rail system that stretched out to outlying communities and towns.
Not sure what high quality urbanism means. Light industrial and density are not mutually exclusive, particularly with work/live spaces. I agree that SE would be best retaining its craftsmanship, but it's unclear why allowing new buildings detracts from this.
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2017, 3:42 PM
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First chance to learn more about how this is going (copied from an email I received):

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You’re Invited!
Open House: Planning OMSI's Property


Tuesday, March 21 | 5pm – 8pm
Theory Eatery at OMSI

We’ve been hard at work on a “master plan” for our property, and we’re eager to share our work-to-date with you! Do you know the fascinating history of our property? What are some of the things we’re considering as we plan? Find out!

Join us, along with Snøhetta architects, for an open house to see where we are in the process and what it means for the future of our site. All ages welcome!

5:30 and 6:30pm | Presentation by OMSI President Nancy Stueber and Snøhetta architects

If you aren’t able to join us, don’t worry! Key topics and updates will be available online one week after the event.

Please RSVP.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2017, 7:10 PM
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Bump. Looks like they're still allowing RSVPs.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 4:48 AM
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I went, there wasn't much information. Got to meet a few people from Snohetta though, which was cool.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 7:00 AM
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I wasn't expecting to see finished designs, but what was presented was so preliminary I'm not even sure why they bothered.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 8:17 AM
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I wasn't expecting to see finished designs, but what was presented was so preliminary I'm not even sure why they bothered.
This is why I won't be holding my breath on this one until I see them starting to break ground.
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 1:04 PM
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This is why I won't be holding my breath on this one until I see them starting to break ground.
Yup this is Portland after all
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Old Posted Mar 22, 2017, 3:20 PM
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I wasn't expecting to see finished designs, but what was presented was so preliminary I'm not even sure why they bothered.
If you're saying that concept drawings can be better, I agree that sometimes teams fall short on that.

But if you're saying they shouldn't have public outreach in the early stages of design I'd disagree a lot. That's the time when public and stakeholder input is most helpful, and new big ideas don't require tossing a lot of expensive work. It's also typically important to fundraising to get people excited early.
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