Portland Design Commission review of OMSI District master plan underway

It’s all coming together for the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s (OMSI) monumental redevelopment plan along the water in Portland’s Central Eastside.

Officially, the OMSI Central City Master Plan, informally dubbed the OMSI District, is a proposal for a new 34-acre neighborhood that will feature restaurants, retail + office space, hotels, residential buildings, updated transportation, a waterfront education park, and other communal places.

Yesterday, the first of what could be several Design Commission hearings for official approval took place, moving the project closer to actually breaking ground. The next meeting has been tentatively scheduled for Thurs., Oct. 20. Here’s what’s at stake.

An aerial rendering of the OMSI District.

Climate solutions, like eco roofs, will be implemented throughout. | Rendering by ZGF Architects

  • The current estimated cost for infrastructure (roads, utilities, and other systems) is $122 million. Funding for the district will be supplied equally by three sources — OMSI, public money (including Portland Bureau of Transportation contributions + a $5 million state grant), and private development.
  • It would provide more than 7,000 construction jobs over its duration. Once completed, OMSI asserts that it will create nearly 4,300 jobs, over $11 million in annual property tax revenue, and $22 million in annual income tax revenue.
  • Of the expected 1,200 housing units, 20% will be available at affordable rates.
  • Landowners with property in the project area include Portland Community College, Portland Opera, OMSI, Portland General Electric, TriMet, 1800 Water Avenue Partners, and the City of Portland.
  • More than 40 local organizations have lent their support, including the Albina Vision Trust, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Native American Youth and Family Center.
  • James Parker, the acting executive director of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, said in a statement, “There is a tremendous opportunity in the OMSI District to create an inclusive neighborhood. The OMSI District would be the first in the city to restore Tribal presence on the Willamette.”
  • The OMSI District would be the third major project approved under Portland’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan, after the Broadway Corridor and the RiverPlace redevelopment.