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Mayor kills Oregon Sustainability Center project

Sam Adams says he lacks the votes on the City Council to proceed


by: COURTESY OF THE CITY OF PORTLAND - A rendering shows the Oregon Sustainability Center that city and state officials hoped would be a showcase of environmental policies and practices.Mayor Sam Adams pulled the plug Friday on developing the Oregon Sustainability Center, a midrise office building proposed near Portland State University that was supposed to be one of the world's greenest large buildings.

Backers had proposed a "net zero" or "living building," which would produce all the energy needed on-site from renewable sources, and process all waste water on-site.

The Oregon Sustainability Center was pitched as a way to showcase the latest in green building techniques and provide a boost for Portland contractors specializing in that niche. However, the project proved too expensive, and would-be tenants balks at paying above-market rents. Organizers also had problems lining up certain contractors to supply services and building supplies that meet the project's stringent green requirements.

There was some sign the project might proceed with the recent news that Portland-based Interface Engineering offered to co-own the cutting-edge building. But Adams acknowledged Friday that wasn't enough to win over doubters.

"It’s become clear to me this week that I don’t have the votes necessary to pass the project through Portland City Council and we won’t be moving forward," Adams stated in a prepared release.

Both leading mayoral candidates, Charlie Hales and Jefferson Smith, also have expressed reservations about the building, citing its high costs and other pressing priorities.