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Oregon Sustainability Center fetches donation, tenant

Sanyo's contribution closes funding gap

The Oregon Sustainability Center scored a large donation - closing the funding gap needed to launch construction of the innovative green building to $2.5 million - and a pledge from Umpqua Bank to open a branch there.

The news was announced Tuesday night at a reception attracting Gov. John Kitzhaber, Portland Mayor Sam Adams and leaders of Portland's environmental and sustainable-business sectors.

Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., which will supply Salem-made solar panels to the building, put up a large donation, says Andrea Durbin, Oregon Environmental Council executive director. Her group also will move to the building, which will provide a greenhouse of sorts for nonprofits, academics, government and others to collaborate on sustainability issues.

After substantial funding was raised from government sources, project organizers were left with a $4 million funding gap. Earlier donations to the project include $250,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust and $200,000 from InSpec Group, which will install the solar panels.

Speakers stressed that siting the world's largest advanced green building near Portland State University will reap benefits for the local economy.

'The velocity of the change in the economy towards sustainability is picking up at an exponential rate,' said Ray Davis, Umpqua CEO. 'This is going to be a hallmark title for the Oregon economy and for the Oregon business world.'

The Umpqua branch at the Oregon Sustainability Center will offer financing for sustainability projects, among others.

'This center is the first step toward an economy of innovation that I think is within our reach,' Kitzhaber said.

"People think we're crazy to try this, but it's a good kind of crazy," Adams said.

Portland State University, the largest tenant at the building, will lease 40,000 square feet for classroom and other space.

'Portland is known for its export of expertise in this area, and that didn't happen by accident,' said PSU President Wim Wievel.