Sponsored by Energy Trust

Staying alive

| Print |  Email
Articles - Nov/Dec 2012
Monday, November 05, 2012

Education, medical

1112 StayingAlive 04
Edna Holmes Hall at Lewis & Clark in Portland is one of many examples of Oregon colleges building more housing to accommodate a growing student population.
// Photo courtesy Lewis & Clark College/Robert Reynolds

Talk to almost any major construction firm in Oregon these days, and just about all of them have a recent student housing project in their portfolio. Hoffman? University of Oregon’s $71.5 million East Campus residence hall. Walsh Construction? Portland State University’s $90 million University Pointe at College Station and Lewis & Clark College’s $8.4 million Edna Holmes Hall. Adroit Construction of Ashland? Southern Oregon University’s $40 million Cascade dormitory. The list goes on.

“Student housing, whether it’s owned institutionally or privately, is certainly a strong sector and has maintained strength through the downturn,” says Saito of Gerding Edlen, which managed a recent $20 million housing project for Lane Community College.

Part of the reason is simple supply and demand. Additionally, some institutions, short on capital, have turned to a partnership approach with private developers. At PSU, for example, the school leased the land for University Pointe to Texas developer American Campus Communities, which then built and owns the building.

Other education projects, from the $6 million seismic retrofit of SOU’s Churchill Hall by Ausland Group to a $10 million renovation of the University of Portland’s library by Todd Construction of Tigard, have kept builders busy as well. Similarly, local bond measures have led to K-12 building projects for some firms, including Todd, which will build Portland’s $37 million Parkrose Middle School in the coming year. And Oregon State University’s plans to expand its Cascades campus in Bend into a four-year university by 2015 likely will require some new construction or renovation just down the road.

Yet the bright education spot may be dimming. For starters, the Legislature only approved $265 million in capital construction funds for the 2011-13 biennium, down from $758 million in 2009-11. Along the same lines, earlier bond measures for schools, fire stations and other public projects are winding down.

“I think we’re seeing the tail end of what was passed when the economy was still pretty good,” says Ausland. “We may be cycling out of those institutional projects.”

Like education projects, health care construction has been strong over the past few years. Smaller clinics as well as large hospitals — such as the $9.3 million Curry Medical Center in Brookings and Kaiser Permanente’s under-construction, $344 million Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro —have kept crews working steadily. The state, too, is building two new hospitals to the tune of $458 million to replace the existing Oregon State Hospital.

But all this could be tapering off.

“There may be more of that that’s in the rearview mirror,” says Eberwein. “Most of the big guys did a lot of the big projects, and now they’re catching their breath. Generally speaking, even though it never really goes away, health care is taking a breath.”

Part of that has to do with the slower economy, but part may also be the uncertainty related to health care reform.

“In health care,” says Brent Schafer, president of Todd Construction, which built the hospital in Brookings, “it seems like people are being kind of cautious about the election and health care reform, and waiting to see how all that is going to shake out.”



 

More Articles

Top 10 stories of 2014

The Latest
Thursday, December 18, 2014
10-listthumbBY LINDA BAKER

2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


Read more...

A Complex Portrait: Immigration, Jobs and the Economy

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE & KIM MOORE

Oregon Business reports on the visa squeeze, the skills gap and foreign-born residents who are revitalizing rural Oregon.


Read more...

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...

Streetfight

News
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS