Urban Center Building

Urban Center Building
Building Code 
506 SW Mill Street, Portland, Oregon 97201-5412
Year Built 
9; 4

The Urban Center is bounded by SW Mill, 5th, Montgomery, and 6th Avenue. Home to the College of Urban and Public Affairs, the Urban Center sits just north of the Academic and Student Recreation Center and east, across 6th Avenue, from Parking Structure 2 and the University Services Building.

The Urban Center consists of two connected structures bridging a Portland Street Car station and situated on a hardscape called Urban Plaza which includes three fountains, a clock tower, and the monumental granite sculptures of John Aiken. The Urban Center is the larger eastern portion of the building which is a nine-story structure featuring two ground floor retail spaces including the PSU Bookstore. 

The smaller western section of the building is called the Wilson-DeShane Pavilion, sometimes referred to as the Distance Learning Center. Named after long-time PSU supporters and alumni, Michael DeShane and Keren Brown Wilson, the Wilson-DeShane Pavilion is a four-story structure that includes retail spaces on its ground floor and an accessible rooftop terrace. It is connected to Urban Center via a two-story skybridge that passes over the Streetcar tracks.

The east and west building were designed by Thomas Hacker and Associates and Urban Center Plaza was designed by Doug Macy of Walker Macy landscape architects with the project completed in March 2000. The entire complex functions as a physical link between the original campus core in the Park Blocks and the expanding University District along SW 5th and 4th Avenues. In addition to the Streetcar station the project was coordinated with TriMet to provide multiple bus facility improvements along 5th and 6th Avenues thus establishing PSU as one of the single-most active destinations in the TriMet system. In March 2018, Urban Center earned LEED O+M Silver certification based on an evaluation of its operations and maintenance to reduce the environmental, economic and occupant health impacts over the lifetime of the structure.

The College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA) was one of the three initial PhD programs offered at Portland State along with Systems Science and Environmental Science and Resources. CUPA began as the Center for Urban Studies within the College of Social Science and its first program offering was an undergraduate certificate in 1959. When doctoral education came to PSU in 1969, Urban Studies was selected in part because it did not encroach on offerings at OSU or UO. Nohad Toulan was hired in 1972 and shortly thereafter appointed Dean of a new School of Urban Affairs and then School of Urban and Public Affairs (UPA) after the Public Administration program joined its ranks in the 1980s. The new School moved into the now demolished Francis Manor in 1976, which sat at the corner of 6th Avenue and Montgomery until 1987 when it was cleared to make way for the School of Business building (SBA). After Francis Manor, UPA relocated to East Hall until the completion of Urban Center in 2000. Coinciding with Urban Center's groundbreaking in 1997, the School was promoted to the upgraded title of College of Urban and Public Affairs.

Building Occupants
Center for Public Service
Center for Urban Studies
Center for Women, Politics, and Policy
College of Urban and Public Affairs--Computer Lab
College of Urban and Public Affairs--Dean's Office
Community Environmental Sciences
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Hatfield School of Government
Institute of Portland Metro Studies
Institute on Aging
National Policy Consensus Center
Nohad Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning
Northwest Economic Research Center
Political Science
Population Research Center
PSU Bookstore
Public Administration
School of Public Health

Additional Resources

West Building All Gender Restrooms: Three single-occupancy restrooms located on Floor 2 - Rooms 201 & 202; and Floor 3 - Room 301.
East Building All Gender Restroom: One single-occupancy restroom located on Floor 2 - Room 251 (PSU ID card needed to enter)

Lactation Station: Room 302

Square Footage
College of Urban and Public Affairs Gross Square Footage: 120,057
College of Urban and Public Affairs Net Assignable Square Footage: 71,466

Wilson-DeShane Pavilion Gross Square Footage: 13,899
Wilson-DeShane Pavilion Net Assignable Square Footage: 10,575

ADA Accessibility