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John Russell honored with the Urban Pioneer Award

The College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University is pleased to announce John Russell as the recipient of the 2012 Nohad A. Toulan Urban Pioneer Award for Public Service.

Russell moved to Portland from Seattle in 1960 and in 1979 started Russell Development, which has garnered national attention for its achievements while continuing to be a catalyst for positive development practices in the region.  Russell has developed some of the most prestigious buildings in downtown Portland, such as the Pacwest Center and the 200 S.W. Market Building, which was one of the city's earliest buildings to embrace sustainability and the first legacy office building in America to receive a gold rating from the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.  His passion for historical preservation of landmark buildings has led to him owning and restoring an entire block of buildings between Southwest Oak and First Avenue.

Russell has chaired the Portland Development Commission, the Mayor’s Business Roundtable and the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee for Economic Development, and has been a member of the Oregon Transportation Commission, the Portland Planning Commission, and the Portland Landmark Commission.  He is dedicated to shaping, as well as preserving, the landscape of Portland.

“John Russell has changed the way that the Portland metropolitan region looks, thinks, and plans,” said Larry Wallack, Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs.  “His contributions to maintaining the historical character of Portland and advancing the economic development of the region have been pioneering.  His prominence in both his private sector and public sector activities has made him virtually unique in Oregon.   He has truly made an important difference in the life of our community.” 

This award, named for the College’s founding dean, honors community leaders who exhibit many of the ideals taught to students and valued by College of Urban and Public Affairs' faculty and community partners.  Recipients are honored for their contributions to the political, social and physical landscape of our region.  Past awardees include Ernie Bonner, Kay Toran, Vera Katz, Mike Lindberg, Gretchen Kafoury, Charles Jordan, Mike Houck and Governor Barbara Roberts. 

The College of Urban and Public Affairs houses the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, the Mark O. Hatfeld School of Government, and the School of Community Health.  The College also includes 11 research and public service institutes working to enhance the quality of life in the Portland metropolitan regions.