March 10, 2016

More than 70 people viewed displays of designs for the new Multnomah County Central Courthouse at an open house held April 21 at the old courthouse jury room. Participants included neighbors, urban design fans, and courthouse employees who came to learn about the latest plans for the courthouse that will be constructed at SW First and SW Madison starting in 2017.

Renderings prepared by SRG Partnership architects showed a 17-story building at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge with large windows in public hallways facing facing the river to the east. "It's an amazing site for a courthouse," said County Commissioner Judy Shiprack at the event. Commissioner Shiprack worked in the existing courthouse several decades ago as an assistant district attorney. "The new courthouse will be a visible center of justice in our community," she said. "The prominent use of glass will remind us that justice should be transparent and that all are welcome in this building."

Visitors reviewed display boards on the following topics: 

  • Why we need a new courthouse
  • Project schedule and budget
  • Designing a courthouse for the 21st century
  • Main entrance at SW First and SW Madison
  • Naito Streetscape
  • Interior public spaces
  • ​Construction planning
  • Sustainability
  • Project team diversity
  • Public input and the design

The boards can be viewed on our Documents and Reports web page.

Participants shared comments and questions with members of the project team, including staff from Multnomah County, SRG Partnership architects, and Hoffman Construction, the project's construction manager/general contractor. The project team will review public input received at the event as the project moves to advanced design.

Design topics that participants expressed interest in at the event included: 

  • Sustainability features such as green roofs and solar panels that will help the project pursue Gold level LEED certification
  • Features that will help the building be elder friendly
  • How the existing Jefferson Station building on the southwest corner of the block will be incorporated
  • CourtCare (daycare) and a public law library within the courthouse
  • Parking issues during construction

Have a comment or question about the courthouse design? Email the project team at


Twitter: @centralcourthou

Facebook: Multnomah County Central Courthouse