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Proposal for New Multnomah County Health Department Headquarters in Old Town/Chinatown Subject of Public Hearing on April 28

Map showing Old Town/Chinatown site of proposed Multnomah County Health BuildingThe Multnomah County Health Department serves the county’s 748,000 residents, providing essential public health services, including direct medical and dental services, environmental health services, public health investigation and reporting, and chronic and communicable disease prevention. However, the County’s Health Department administrative facilities in downtown Portland are under-sized and functionally obsolete, and department functions are spread across multiple buildings throughout the county.

So the County is proposing to construct a new headquarters facility for its Health Department on a half-block site in Old Town/Chinatown. The new building would concentrate most of the County’s health-related administrative departments and include some direct-service functions.

Extra height required

The site selected for the proposed facility is the eastern portion of Block U, located on NW 6th Ave, between NW Hoyt and NW Irving streets, within the River District of the Central City (see map). The new building would require an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 square feet and would stand between 105 and 150 feet in height. While the density entitlement (with bonuses) for the site is sufficient for the proposed building, the height allowance (75 feet) is not.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is proposing to raise the height on Block U to a maximum of 150 feet to accommodate this proposal. This would be done by increasing the base height from 75 to 105 feet and making the site eligible for an additional 45 feet of bonus height. This could be earned through the use of floor area ratio (FAR) bonuses in exchange for providing various public benefits. The public is invited to testify on the proposed height increase at a public hearing with the Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Public Hearing on Multnomah County Health Department Building

Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission
Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 3 p.m.*
1900 SW 4th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Room 2500A

* Please check the PSC calendar or call (503) 823-7700 one week prior to hearing for scheduled time of this agenda item

Instructions on submitting testimony:

Download the proposal (including graphics and ESEE analysis update): 

Next Steps

A City Council public hearing to consider the recommendations of the Planning and Sustainability Commission on this proposal is anticipated in early June 2015. For more information, visit the project website or contact Nicholas Starin at or by phone at (503) 823-5837.