Stephen E. Epler Residence Hall

Building Code 
1136 SW Montgomery Street 97201-3206
Year Built 

Stephen Epler Residence Hall (SEH) is a six-story building located on the corner of SW 12th Avenue and Montgomery Street. Floors 2-6 feature 130 furnished units, a majority of which are double occupancy, with private kitchenette and bath. Although primarily a residence hall, Epler Hall's first floor is devoted to classroom, office space and the Little Vikings Child Care facility. It shares a block with the King Albert Building to its east and Hoffman Hall to its south. SEH sits just south across Montgomery from the Saint Helens Building.

Constructed in 2003 for $10 million, SEH replaced the Birmingham Building residence hall which sat on the same site. Epler Hall is a USGBC LEED Silver Certified building and was designed to benefit from the natural elements such as wind, rain, and sun by integrating new technologies with climate responsive design. This reduced the building’s overall reliance on energy consumptive mechanical and electrical systems. Additional elements in its LEED certification derived from the re-use of much of the original Birmingham structure which was deconstructed rather than demolished. Prior to its completion SEH was called the New Birmingham Building.

Who was Stephen Epler?
Epler Hall is named after Portland State University’s founder, Stephen E. Epler (1909-1997). Epler was originally recruited by dean of Oregon's General Extension Division, John Francis Cramer, to counsel returning veterans on their educational opportunities following World War II. Unable to find housing in Portland proper, Epler and his family moved to the Kaiser Corporation's war-time city Vanport, Oregon in January 1946. By March he had received approval by the State Board of Higher Education to create the Vanport Extension Center (VEC). Epler's perseverance and advocacy saw the VEC through Vanport's 1948 destruction and its eventual installation into the old Lincoln High School where it was re-named the Portland State Extension Center.

Following nearly a decade of advocacy, Epler and his supporters finally secured the support necessary to establish a permanent four-year institution, Portland State College, in 1955. Despite strong faculty and student support, Epler was overlooked by the State Board of Higher Education when selecting the first Portland State president and found himself increasingly marginalized as an administrator. With no administrative role in the new college, Epler accepted the presidency of Reedley College in California, where he served for five years. He then served as president of the prestigious College of Marin. In 1966, the State of California recruited Epler to found Ohlone College in Fremont, where he remained until he retired in 1975.

Building Occupants
Little Vikings Childcare Center

Historical Photos of Stephen E. Epler Residence Hall from the University Digital Gallery

Square Footage
Gross Square Footage: 61,174
Net Assignable Square Footage: 42,649

ADA Accessibility