Planning for new UO Portland campus moves into high gear

Momentum is building as the University of Oregon Portland prepares to move to a new campus in northeast Portland next summer.

With the purchase of the new property finalized, the university is ramping up preparations to welcome students to the campus in fall 2023. The UO Portland campus will be home to the new Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health and current UO academic and research programs.

The move to the 19-acre property is the next chapter of the university’s long academic presence in Portland that dates to the 1880s.

“The purchase of our new campus, UO Portland, is one of the most important developments in the long and storied history of the University of Oregon,” President Michael H. Schill said. “In addition to housing The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health, we anticipate UO Portland to house many other partnerships with local institutions and the community which will educate and improve the lives of young people in the city of Portland, our state and our nation.” 

A historic gift of more than $425 million from Connie and Steve Ballmer was announced in March to establish The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral health, a bold new approach to promote the behavioral health and wellness of children and adolescents in Oregon and beyond. A portion of that gift was used to purchase the property, which will serve as the new home to the Ballmer Institute, as well as UO Portland academic and administrative programs and research centers currently located in the White Stag Block in Old Town. The new campus is located near NE Holman and NE 27th streets. 

“There has already been planning and collaboration taking place to get the campus ready for UO students, employees and community members,” said Jane Gordon, vice provost for Portland. “The property has been vacant for more than two years and we are looking forward to bringing it back to life. In addition, we are growing our footprint significantly from urban buildings to an established campus with housing, dining, recreation and green space. While it is exciting to create a new campus, there are many details to work through over the next year.”

Activation groups comprised of Portland- and Eugene-based employees have started meeting to tackle key issues for moving to the new campus. The teams are campus facilities; information technology; library; advancement, community engagement and communications; housing and dining; safety and risk services; student support; and event services.

Here are the latest updates from the Ballmer Institute and UO Portland:

The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health

During spring term, UO faculty in psychology and the College of Education worked to create the foundation of the academic programs and goals for the new institute. Institute leaders met with more than 150 external partners in areas including K-12 and higher education, community organizations, and health care in the past three months.

“Every day, every meeting only confirms the great need and immense support to train a new workforce to support the behavioral and emotional health and wellness of our youth,” said Randy Kamphaus, acting executive director of the Ballmer Institute. “It was an active and focused period to make sure we listened to a variety of voices and perspectives. We have incorporated this input into all aspects of our curriculum planning.

A new bachelor’s degree to prepare students to enter a critical role in the behavioral health workforce is expected to launch in fall 2023, pending state approval. The program will require two years in-residence with the Ballmer Institute in Portland.

The graduate certificate program for educators will launch this fall, in partnership with specific school districts in the state.

In addition to adding affiliated faculty members, recruitment and hiring for staff and faculty hiring will start this fall.

UO Portland

From the time the law school was established in Portland more than 100 years ago, the University of Oregon has offered academic and research programs that focus on hands-on learning, professional mentorship, and connection to businesses, nonprofits and civic organizations.

“The academic programs in Portland are there for the opportunities that they present for our students and the region,” said Patrick Phillips, provost and senior vice president. “Each one has focused on industry connection in a way that launches their graduates into focused careers. This campus will allow us to strengthen that connection for Eugene students through internships, student readiness opportunities and focused experiences. It also provides a space for us to form strong connections with our alumni and community partners.”

Moving to the new campus are graduate programs in multimedia journalism, strategic communication, architecture, sports product design, historic preservation and law, as well as undergraduate degree in product design.

Research centers include Urbanism Next, Agora Journalism Center, Center for Teaching and Learning, Energy Studies in Building Laboratory, Prevention Sciences Institute and Labor Education and Research Center. Discussions are underway related to moving the Oregon Executive MBA and sports product management master’s program, which are housed in leased space in the Naito building.

Other departments including student life and advancement also will move by next summer.