by Sarah JF Braley | November 21, 2019

Work has concluded on the $40 million renovation of the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, the first large-scale makeover since the venue was built 30 years ago. The project, completed during the OCC's busiest year so far, included creating a plaza area to provide a flexible outdoor space for events, as well as a community space for locals, staff and event attendees. 

"OCC is Oregon's premier convention center, so we made sure to keep our local community and setting top-of-mind throughout the planning and implementation process of this project. Subsequently, we concentrated on aspects that are important and unique to Oregon," said Craig Stroud, executive director of the facility, which offers 255,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, two grand ballrooms and 52 breakout rooms. "I think the results of this focus are evident, both in the impact and originality of the Pacific Northwest-inspired design elements, but also in the level of care that was taken to improve the accessibility, sustainability and flexibility aspects and capabilities we offer our guests, buildingwide."

The project wraps up in time for the December opening of the 600-room Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, which is right across the street. The hotel will have 39,000 square feet of its own event space, including an 11,822-square-foot ballroom.

"When we began planning this comprehensive renovation project, all the way back in 2013, we saw a need for Portland to level up its meetings and convention offerings," says Scott Cruickshank, general manager of visitor venues for Metro, the regional government, and a former executive director of the OCC. "This renovation has done that and more. Portland now has a top-tier conventions venue, paired with a sizeable convention hotel that has national and international appeal. Many community organizations, firms and stakeholders have been involved in this project over the years, and so its completion is also exciting to the local residents and partners that were instrumental to this large-scale project."

The OCC renovation, which was completed on-time and on-budget, was directed by Colas Construction and its stable of Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity-certified subcontractors; 51 percent of the project contractors were COBID-certified firms. 

The OCC became the first LEED Existing Building-certified convention center in 2004, and then achieved LEED-EB Silver in 2008 and LEED Platinum in 2014. The facility has also been Salmon-Safe certified since 2007 from the clean-water nonprofit, for its innovative rain garden, responsible stormwater management efforts and integrated pest-management policy.