Fall 2015 Project Update: Design work begins on Central Courthouse

November 2, 2015

Central courthouse concept at west end of Hawthorne Bridge
Central courthouse concept at west end of Hawthorne Bridge
The Multnomah County Central Courthouse project continues its momentum from the summer when the Architect and the General Contractor were selected. 

Architects SRG Partnership and CGLRicciGreene continue to meet with the Courthouse users to finalize the layout and programming.  This work involves everything from big decisions like how many courtrooms to a floor and the security layout of the building to the mundane like verifying the number of offices, cubicles, and conference rooms, as well as what operations need to be adjacent to each other.    

The Courthouse Project team and users developed the following Vision Statement and Project Mission Statement to guide them in making project decisions: 

Vision Statement: The new Multnomah County Central Courthouse will enhance confidence in the justice system, inspire civic engagement and urban vitality, and provide a restorative human experience within a resilient and responsible community landmark.

Mission Statement: To design and build a sustainable, accessible, functional, landmark Courthouse that is a symbol of the importance of our system of justice and a source of civic pride. The new Courthouse will incorporate 21st Century best practices in operations, security, and design; it will be capable of adapting to changing needs over a planned 100-year useful life. The project delivery team will work in a trusting and collaborative manner, with key community partners, to achieve the County’s goals and objectives.

Contractor Outreach

The project team hosted an outreach event for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses on August 31, 2015 that was attended by more than 100 interested parties.  That was followed by an interactive workshop at Business Diversity Institute’s MED Week session on October 1, 2015 where project managers for the County, architect and contractor met with three firms interested in a role on the project.  A roundtable discussion was held after the event to discuss their approach and provide feedback.  On October 9, 2015 another contractor outreach event was held at the offices of the National Association of Minority Contractors-Oregon. 

Design Work Begins

The Courthouse Team will brief the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on December 8 with status updates and ask permission to proceed to the next phase of the project – the Design Phase. Project architects will start the exciting work of determining what the Courthouse will look like and how it will take advantage of the site.  They will also start to look at optimal ways to incorporate the Jefferson Station office condominium space into the project.   They have determined the ideal location for the entrance to the Courthouse is off SW First Avenue.  The public space on the court floors will face east toward SW Naito Parkway.  This provides the best opportunity for an enhanced public experience.

Over the next few months the architects will start to look at the shape of the building, façade materials and common areas.  An open house will be held in Spring 2016 to share these ideas with the community and get feedback.  There will then be regular updates on the County website as well as open houses for the rest of 2016 with ground breaking scheduled for the end of 2016.