District Development - OMSI, Portland Community College & Portland Opera

We're proud to collaborate with OMSI, PCC, community partners, and the city to engage in a master planning process to explore the development of our district. Our goal is to understand the role Portland Opera can play in co-creating a one-of-a-kind mixed-use development, neighborhood, and community destination with inclusive innovation, learning, arts & culture at its heart.

Tilikum Crossing: The Bridge of the People | photo by Trace Downen

Portland Opera's Involvement & Vision

In late 2017, our next-door neighbors at OMSI unveiled a master plan process to expand science education for the community and create an inclusive, vibrant new district on the southeast bank of the Willamette River in Portland's Central Eastside. They've been making amazing progress in visioning and setting the stage for change, growth, and activation in our neighborhood.

Inspired by the spirit of community, our strategic goals, and the possibility of building a future that can combine arts and culture into this vibrant plan—Portland Opera decided to become a formal partner in the master plan in January, 2021. 

We invite you to learn more about the process, exciting progress, and our involvement. 

Details - OMSI District Development Project Updates, Partners & Info

Dive into the details! OMSI frequently updates their awesome District Development webpage.  Here you can explore detailed information about the district, community engagement opportunities, a full project history, project partners, and coverage/news. 

Visit OMSI's District Development page

What is master planning, and how does Portland Opera fit into this process?

It is important for the Portland Opera community to know that developing a master plan is very different from actually developing a site! The master planning process is like a vision down-payment for the future:  by working with community and city entities, consultants, stakeholders, advisors, architects, and planning groups, a master plan is meant to produce a conceptual guide for what might be possible on a property, site, or district.

The process of creating this conceptual guide includes understanding the potential of a physical space, and how it is shaped by systems like building code, utilities, people, transit, and the environment. In gathering these details and research—the process can also include collaboration to envision big goals, and community values, as part of setting the stage for the possibility of future development. 

Portland Opera's involvement and partnership in this plan is a direct result of our company's current strategic plan, developed in partnership with Metropolitan Group during the 18/19 season. Specifically, the second of the three core strategies is to explore longer-term vision and feasibility to redevelop the Central Eastside waterfront property that Portland Opera owns, through opportunities that could mutually help Portland Opera, other arts organizations, and the entire community. 

When we embarked on this strategy at the launch of our strategic plan, a partnership with OMSI and our neighbors at PCC seemed like the most natural and community-centered way forward.  We're excited to make meaningful progress together, and thrilled that the stars have aligned, to bring Portland Opera's mission and vision into the planning process. 

Who is leading this process for Portland Opera?

Portland Opera's Real Estate Working group, led by Portland Opera Board Member and architect Nicolai Kruger, is focused on learning about long-term planning opportunities.

Committee members also include Portland Opera staff members Sue Dixon, Richard Seals, Laura Hassell; Portland Opera Board of Directors members Bill Sweat (President, Portland Opera Board of Directors), David Leif Ericksen, Matt Essieh, and Curtis T. Thompson; as well as Eric Friedenwald-Fishman (Metropolitan Group),  Guy Benn (TriMet), Suzanne Nance (All Classical Portland), and Scott Showalter (Oregon Symphony).

What is next, and how can I get involved?

We will be hosting listening sessions, with OMSI and our partners, in spring of 2022 to engage with key groups from the community, as part of envisioning the master plan. These sessions will focused on community members and stakeholders sharing ideas for possibilities, and future use. We'll be sure to post information here, and we encourage you to also seek information in the "Engaging With the Community" section of OMSI's master plan site. There you can also learn more about feasibility research currently underway for including a Center for Tribal Nations, as well as an education park.