Tag: Multnomah University

Volunteers of America Buys Glisan Property

In May, the Oregon branch of Volunteers Of America (VOA) bought a large property on NE Glisan Street from Central Bible Church. The property spans two blocks, encompassing the large church building at 8815 NE Glisan Street and the unpaved parking lot across NE 90th Ave.

In a message from the Central Bible Church about the sale, they described VOA’s intentions for the property. VOA of Oregon runs programs throughout the State that focus on serving the elderly, youth, individuals released from incarceration, people with disabilities, and recovering addicts. At this facility, they will repurpose the existing building and campus to expand the availability of programs they currently offer in Portland. Although VOA is in the early stages of planning, some services expected at this site include the VOA Family Relief Nursery, recovery services, and counseling services.

The Central Bible Church supported its members for 89 years. However, financial difficulties forced the organization to cease operations last year. They held their final service on Sunday, February 23rd, 2020. In a letter to the congregation, church leaders explained that the staffing levels and size of the property were more than what members could support. Mounting utility costs for the 60,000 square-foot facility outpaced its active use, and 65% of the operating budget went to employee-related costs, 15% greater than similar faith-based operations.

Church leadership also pointed to new seismic requirements in the Portland code and over one million dollars in deferred maintenance as deciding factors in the church’s decision to shut down. Staff gifted historically significant documents and pictures from Central Bible Church to the Multnomah University library, which will become part of the school’s permanent archive. Displaced members and leaders created a new church in NE Portland called Stone Table Church and are slowly building up that congregation.

Central Bible Church leadership was happy to have sold to an organization in line with its goals. Like the previous owners, Volunteers Of America is a faith-based organization. Unfortunately, the sale has displaced the SkateChurch that shared the property with Central Bible Church. SkateChurch is currently seeking a new location. 

With such a large property, VOA has many options to develop the land further. Although, there are significant changes needed to the existing structures to meet future requirements. Look for the long-vacant building return to use soon, as it transforms to serve its new function in the community.

View of unpaved parking lot across NE 90th Ave from the main property

Spectator Sports in Montavilla

This summer, Multnomah University will begin work on a new athletics field that will host competitive men’s and women’s soccer matches. The project will create a regulation-sized synthetic turf soccer field with lights and a scoreboard. Beyond hosting games, the enhancements will support expanded student fitness and recreation opportunities.

Matches at the new field will be open to the public, and the University encourages neighborhood attendance. “We would love for community members to attend the games,” remarked Multnomah University representative Gina Berquist. Located at 8435 NE Glisan Street, the athletics field is accessible from NE Glisan Street, NE 87th Ave, and NE Pacific Street. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the upcoming fall schedule is unconfirmed and contingent on future guidance. The University’s Athletics site will post the fall soccer schedule when confirmed with other Cascade Collegiate Conference members.

The school hopes to wrap up the permitting process soon, allowing the completion of work by the end of summer and ahead of the upcoming season. When completed, this new field will provide residents with an opportunity to watch a favorite Portland sport played in the neighborhood. Keep an eye on gomulions.com for updates on the schedule and support the athletes by attending the games.

Rendering courtesy of Multnomah University

Cascade Collegiate Conference Schools

University of British Columbia
Bushnell University
Corban University
Eastern Oregon University
The Evergreen State College
The College of Idaho
Lewis-Clark State College

Multnomah University
Northwest University
Oregon Institute of Technology
Southern Oregon University
Walla Walla University
Warner Pacific University

Multnomah University A-Frame Demo

Multnomah University will demolish the structurally-compromised A-Frame building on the northeast portion of the campus. The damp wooded environment surrounding the structure’s all-wood construction caused its gradual decline over the last decade. Consequently, the building served as a storage space for the school during the previous nine years.

According to Gina Berquist, Vice President of Enrollment Management at the University, staff reluctantly chose to remove the building from a concern for students’ and employees’ wellbeing. “It was a difficult decision to make to demolish it, but we believe our campus will be safer because of it.” Demolition Permit 21-027906 is currently under review but is not subject the Portland’s 35-day delay period.

In 1974, one of the university’s founding presidents, Dr. Willard Aldrich, commissioned the A-Frame’s construction. It served as an event space, study hall and housed student government offices before becoming storage space. Multnomah University has not announced plans to replace this building after its demolition.


UPDATE – June 5th 2021 add image of site after A-Frame’s removal.

Field Lighting at Multnomah University

Last week Multnomah University applied for a Pre-Application Conference regarding new LED lighting around the existing sports field. This type of land use review shapes the actual permit application to conform with Portland City guidelines. The lighting project is the University’s second enhancement to the athletic field this year.

Located at 8435 NE Glisan Street, the project will install Musco Sports Lighting around the field in the center of the campus. The application states that additional lighting “will allow the university to accommodate class schedules, expand student access to athletics and minimize travel time.”

Recently the University removed a maintenance building to expand the field size. With the additional space and nighttime lighting, the school can improve its athletics programs and offer modern sports facilities. 

Lower Speeds on NE Glisan

This week crews posted new speed limit signs along NE Glisan Street east of 82nd Ave. Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) reduced the speed on this heavily traveled roadway as part of Portland’s Vision Zero goal. A program established to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. The change follows a year full of collisions in this area.

The recent speed limit adjustments made to NE Glisan from 82nd Ave to 122nd Ave creates continuity along the roadway. “With this change in place, NE Glisan Street now has a consistent 30 mph speed limit across most of Portland.” Explained Hannah Schafer, a Communications and Public Involvement representative with PBOT.

Although only reduced by five mph, a reduction from 35 mph to 30 mph can substantially decrease crash fatalities. According to Schafer, “speed is a factor in nearly half of deadly crashes that occur in Portland. Lower speeds result in fewer crashes. When crashes occur, lower speeds make it more likely that people will survive.”

The speed limit reduction joins other efforts by PBOT to improve safety on NE Glisan. Earlier this year, pedestrian crossing lights near Multnomah University joined other similar lights on this road. Reduced speed limits may help calm traffic. However, speeding on this road between I205 and 82nd Ave is a constant issue, regardless of the posted limit. With luck, this change and other PBOT initiatives will improve safety for all users of NE Glisan.

Demolition at Multnomah University

Multnomah University will demolish one building on its campus to provide expanded athletics space. Part of the field expansion requires the removal of a few nearby trees. The University recently submitted demolition permit 20-217562 to begin work on the project at 8435 NE Glisan Street.

“This permit is to demolish the Campus Support Services Building and to cut down a few trees near it,” explained Gina Berquist, Vice President of Enrollment Management at Multnomah University. The building is on the east edge of the field near the parking lot. The removal of the maintenance building will create more field space near the gymnasium. “Our desire is to provide a little more space in the field for our athletes to practice and play in.” Said Berquist.

Like many education institutions, Multnomah University’s campus is closed to the public. However, classroom activities continue regular schedules, with safety modifications. Group practice for team athletics is not currently allowed at the University. Berquist acknowledged that the existing fields are not in use but that this work will improve post-pandemic activities. “At this point… there have been no practices due to this COVID season. [We’er,] looking forward to moving beyond COVID.”