The UO in Portland: An Environment for Growth

New UO Portland building gives business programs a green home

A new building across from UO Portland’s White Stag Block now houses the Oregon Executive MBA and Sports Product Management programs, expanding the university’s ability to serve Portland by providing an exemplary home for two marquee graduate offerings in the Lundquist College of Business.

UO double alumni and developer Mark Edlen, along with his firm Gerding Edlen, were crucial partners in developing the space for UO programs as an anchor tenant. Gerding Edlen specializes in creating sustainable mixed-use commercial projects and saw the opportunity to develop the building, which was constructed on a former parking lot, as beneficial for the university as well as redevelopment of the historic Old Town district.

“The new building, right across from our location at White Stag, gives the University of Oregon Portland a sturdy and stunning footprint,” said Jane Gordon, vice provost for UO Portland. “The building has inspiring study and work spaces and will undoubtedly see generations of UO students engage, connect with the profession and prepare for their futures. Both the Oregon Executive MBA and Sports Product Management programs are thriving in their new environment, which is at the same time stimulating and warmly welcoming.”

Due to generous gifts from alumni, the facility expands opportunities for UO students without dipping into tuition revenue. It is also a marvel of its own regarding construction methods, sustainability practices and materials used.

“The wood is all FSC-certified lumber,” said UO Avamere Professor of Practice Michael Crooke, referring to the Forest Stewardship Council rating. “A lot of work went into the sustainability aspects of it, and it’s Portland’s first stick-built commercial building in 100 years.”

The UO’s Oregon Executive MBA program, designed for mid- to senior-level working professionals, is the only executive MBA program in Oregon. Based in the Portland metro area since the mid-1980s, the program was designed for students who have similar levels of experience to enhance peer learning.

“Teamwork has always been a key part of the Oregon Executive MBA program, but this is the first time that we’ve had dedicated space,” said Julianna Sowash, executive director of the program. “Our beautiful new breakout rooms and their powerful technology were specifically created to facilitate this kind of work.”

The UO’s two-year-old Sports Product Management master’s program is the first of its kind and has attracted students from around the world eager to hook into the more than 800 sports product companies based in Portland.

“This world-class building has creation rooms for the teams, state-of-the-art classrooms and an innovation ‘maker space’ for students in sports product management,” said Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, the program’s director. “Our students have the best possible facilities for experiential and in-classroom learning.”

In addition to numerous breakout and meeting rooms, the facility boasts computer stations, lounge locations, the Ronald Weir Peterson Lecture Hall and the Sauer Family Auditorium, a state-of-the-art, amphitheater-style venue for speakers and as well as classroom use.

“The Sauer Family Auditorium is built on the Harvard case method, which is the key teaching principle for the program,” Sowash said. “The classroom’s acoustics and direct sight lines encourage the back-and-forth between students that is characteristic of the Oregon Executive MBA program’s approach.”

—Melody Ward Leslie and Laurie Notaro, University Communications