The new Multnomah County Central Courthouse designs show off views. The 17-story building in downtown Portland will feature views of the Willamette River and downtown, all while allowing an architectural view for those looking toward the $300 million project near the Hawthorne Bridge.
Multnomah County released renderings of the building this spring, with detailed design set for completion in January 2017, making way for heavy construction to start in spring 2017. The new building at the corner of SW Madison and SW First at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge should open in early 2020, replacing a courthouse built for Multnomah County between 1909 and 1914, when the county had only 250,000 residents and long before modern building code standards. The new 17-story courthouse will include 44 courtrooms for a population that has roughly tripled in the last 100 years.
County project manager J.D. Deschamps says the river view from the public halls should have a calming effect on people who visit the courthouse in stressful situations.
The project team—including staff from the county, the designers from SRG Partnership and general contractor Hoffman Construction as part of a Construction Manager/General Contractor contract—has now co-located at the historic Jefferson Station building that will share the block with the new L-shaped courthouse.
“Having the team in one space is a great benefit,” says 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.”
Engineering on the building includes 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 include solar panels on the tower roof and green roofs on Jefferson Station and the lower section of the courthouse.
The site for the courthouse was selected last year, topping the list of all sites as the preferred choice. The county-owned land helped reduce acquisition costs and is located near the county’s justice center. It is also nearby to mass transit and is accessible by pedestrians and cyclists.
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