December 24, 2020

The City of Portland Design Commission this month approved proposed alterations to 333 SW Park Ave and adjoining parking lot, allowing Multnomah County to move ahead with plans to construct a Behavioral Health Resource Center in downtown Portland.

Sketch of courtyard design for downtown Behavioral Health Resource Center
The Commission approved changes to the existing building including accessibility upgrades, replacement and expansion of ground floor storefront and doors, canopies over sidewalks, window replacements and an eco-roof installation. The adjoining parking lot will be developed into a courtyard for residents and guests, and will include gardens, covered seating, bike parking, storage and a pet relief area. The courtyard will be wrapped in a fence constructed of patterned prefabricated metal panels, with planters and public bike parking on the exterior.

“They have done a good job meeting with the guidelines,” Commissioner Zari Stantner said during the Dec. 17 meeting. “In terms of cohesion, the whole thing has come together in a very cohesive manner both in terms of landscape and exterior buildings.”

In the fall of 2018 Multnomah County began developing plans for a single downtown location to serve as a low barrier day space, mental health shelter, and transitional housing site for homeless individuals living with behavioral health issues. 

After seismic and environmental reviews, comparisons to other available properties, and an evaluation for programming, the Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase of 333 SW Park in January, 2019. 

The Portland Design Commission approval allows the County to remain on schedule with construction. While the city’s Bureau of Development Services reviews the project for building permits, Multnomah County’s partners at Mortenson Construction plan to begin seeking subcontractors next month. 

The County hopes to break ground on construction in the spring of 2021, and open for service in 2022.

“This is a major milestone. I’m satisfied that we could meet the expectations of the Design Commission and I’m excited we can continue to move forward,”  said Brett Taute, project manager for Multnomah County. “This is such an important project for the community as a whole. Even with the challenges of 2020, the Chair and Commissioners have been dedicated to making this a priority and that support has allowed us to continue the momentum on this project.”