Montgomery Street Pop-Up Plaza returns to the heart of PSU’s campus
Author: Katy Swordfisk, PSU Media & PR
Posted: September 20, 2019

Back by popular demand, a section of Southwest Montgomery Street in the heart of Portland State University’s downtown campus, will once again be turned into a pedestrian-only plaza.

 The stretch of road between Southwest 6th Ave. and Broadway was first closed to vehicle traffic as part of a pilot project called the Montgomery Street Pop-Up Plaza in May. The month-long closure proved the block of Montgomery between the Karl Miller Center, and the Campus Public Safety and University Services buildings is successful as a pedestrian campus public space.

As a result of the pilot, PSU submitted another temporary street closure permit with the Portland Bureau of Transportation — but this time the permit spans the entire Fall term, from Sept. 23 to Jan. 6, 2020. If the fall closure is successful, the university hopes Montgomery Street will receive approval for permanent closure. 

The latest installment of the Montgomery Street Pop-Up will serve as an open public space that will occasionally hold events rather than a daily programmed space that was seen in May. The street will once again have street furniture and see the return of PSU Center for Public Interest Design’s modular red/white furniture named “ROSSO” and box planters on either end of the street.

All of these features will improve the on-campus pedestrian experience, create a public space that strengthens campus identity in downtown Portland and promote walking and biking as modes of transportation over vehicular use.

As PSU prepares to reopen the Montgomery pedestrian space, the city began a utility-related construction project that required evacuating large trenches, which required repaving the street. The project meant the student-led street painting completed during May’s pop-up has been removed. 

PSU’s campus planning office is partnering with local landscaping architect firms to hold a design charrette on the street that invites the PSU community and the general public to participate in conceptualizing designs for the street. 

The charrette will take place Oct. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. on the closed portion of S.W. Montgomery between Broadway and 6th.