With fall sun streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows, about 60 neighbors nibbled on duck-shaped sugar cookies, as they learned Oct. 12 about what’s next for the 19-acre campus at the north end of Concordia neighborhood.
In June, the University of Oregon acquired the former Concordia University campus, which had been shuttered since 2020. The recent public meeting took place in the library of the new UO campus. At the gathering, community members mingled with a dozen UO staff and listened to remarks from Interim President Patrick Phillips about the University’s intentions.
The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health is seeking to train more professionals in emotional wellness and will occupy the top floor of the library building, he said.
The institute will offer a new degree for undergraduates and aims to ready 200 graduates per year for jobs in schools and healthcare settings. Students participating in that program will occupy two of the campus’ residence halls starting in Fall 2023.
Some UO officials have already started moving into Concordia campus offices and Phillips said that they are keen to get the library building’s first-floor coffee shop up and running.
In order to create a “campus feel,” Phillips said UO has decided to move all of its Portland programs, currently housed in Old Town’s White Stag building, to the new campus. Those programs include graduate level offerings in business administration, architecture, historical preservation, journalism and law.
The “Innovation Space,” a research and maker lab used by several UO Portland graduate programs, is slated to take over what was Luther Hall, the large brick building and adjoining chapel on Holman Street and NE 28th Avenue.
UO Portland Provost Jane Gordon said the university wants to turn the former Concordia University chapel into a commons, an open space for exhibits and gatherings. The building will require significant renovations, and the university is in the process of selecting an architect to assist in the design phase, she said.
Gordon said she is most excited about the on-campus housing UO will now be able to offer UO Portland students, something it can’t in its Old Town site. She said UO intends to use 400 of the 500 current on-campus beds for students.
Gordon said neighbors will be welcome to use the campus in a variety of ways. “We want to be a community-centered campus,” Gordon said. “We will do events that people will be invited to, whether they’re a lecture, conference, music or things the community puts on. We’re open to various ideas.”
Ideas being considered include a weekly farmer’s market, concerts on the lawn and a food cart pod. Gordon says she wants to collaborate with Concordia residents on how to use the campus.
To share your ideas, contact UO by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit pdx.uoregon.edu/northeast-pdx-campus
Readers Write! Tell us how you think the Concordia community should interact with, as well as utilize, the University of Oregon’s new campus. We’ll publish your thoughts in an upcoming issue. Email CNews Editor Rob Cullivan at CNewsEditor@ConcordiaPDX.org.