Multnomah County celebrated the “topping out” of the Central Courthouse Project on S.W. 1st Avenue and Jefferson.
A “topping out” ceremony is an ancient European construction tradition.
Typically, when a building reaches its highest point, a small tree is attached to the final construction beam to honor the natural resources that contributed to the human-built structure.
At Multnomah County’s ceremony, a U.S. flag and the ironworkers union banner were also attached to the beam before it was hoisted from the sidewalk to the 17th floor, where it will remain part of the structure.
Construction workers, elected leaders, judges, architects, and more got to sign the beam before its placement.
[DEBORAH KAFOURY, Multnomah County Chair]: We pushed our team really hard to get results that benefit not just the project but our entire community.
We’ve added green features that will conserve energy and we built this building to withstand a seismic event so that the people who walk through these doors everyday will be safe.
The courthouse project, which is funded by both the state and county, is an economic driver, creating more than 1,000 jobs.
The project has set aggressive goals for emerging small businesses and participation by minorities, disabled veterans and women.
[HEATHER MAYTHER]: “This is the way to start a career as a carpenter.”
Heather Mayther became a certified journey carpenter while working on the project as an apprentice.
The mother of young triplets described the challenge and accomplishment of building the courthouse’s 50-foot-tall concrete lobby columns.
[HEATHER MAYTHER, Certified Journey Carpenter]: They came here. They visited when we had just stripped these columns and just seeing their little faces in awe, made me--that was my proud moment. Just being a part of this Hoffman family, and a part of this project, it’s an honor. And, to be asked to stand in front of you guys today is an honor.
The new courthouse will replace the 1914 courthouse on S.W. 4th and Main.
It is slated to be complete in 2020.
[WAYNE DRINKWARD, Chairman and CEO, Hoffman Construction]: When we finish this, you will see a building. But, I think everybody that has worked on it will see something that helped move us forward as community, helped bring people together, and helped change our industry.