April 15, 2016

Multnomah County commissioners were briefed on what the new 17-story Central Courthouse will look like from the Willamette River and at night during a presentation on April 14.  

Artist rendering of central courthouse project from east side of the Willamette River

Project Manager Bjorn Clouten with SRG Partnership architects showed renderings of the building from these views as well as a view of the river that the public will see from the 12th floor of the building.

Detailed design is scheduled to be completed in January 2017, with heavy construction starting in spring 2017. The courthouse is scheduled to open in early 2020.  

The building entrance will be at the corner of SW Madison and SW First at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge. County project manager J.D. Deschamps said the river view from the public halls should have a calming effect on people who visit the courthouse in stressful situations.

“This is an iconic site for our courthouse,” Commissioner Judy Shiprack told the presenters. “It will be right by the river and the bridges.  I’m glad you have kept up momentum and maintained the community’s interest in the design. The public should feel a sense of ownership about our justice system.”

Artist rendering of central courthouse project from east side of the Willamette River

The project team – including staff from the county, the designers and general contractor Hoffman Construction – has co-located at the historic Jefferson Station building that will share the block with the L-shaped courthouse.

“Having the team in one space is a great benefit,” said Deschamps. “We can look outside at the site and we can get answers from each other very quickly. And we don’t need to rent office trailers during construction.”

The new courthouse will have an expanded CourtCare area for families that need daycare for children when they have business in the Courthouse. This popular service is support by the Multnomah Bar Association. Another feature that project manager Clouten explained was viscous dampers, which will help absorb the energy from an earthquake. Dampers will be installed on multiple floors to help assist with the building’s resiliency.

The project’s sustainable features will include solar panels on the tower roof and green roofs on Jefferson Station and the lower section of the courthouse.

The design team has awarded 18% of contracts to firms that are owned by minorities, women, and emerging small business owners, surpassing its 15% goal.  Fifty-five people attended an outreach event in late March for construction subcontractors interested in the project.   

The public is invited to an open house on Thursday, April 21 from 4 – 6 p.m. to see the latest design images for the project and provide input.   The event will be held at the existing courthouse jury assembly room, so that people who use the building or work there can easily attend.

Following the briefing the board approved the purchases of two business units at Jefferson Station and of the Veritable Quandary restaurant next door. The properties will be included in the courthouse project.

To view more images of the central courthouse project click here

Artist rendering of central courthouse at Southwest 1st and Madison entrance