Park Blocks: Fall 2018
Author: Stephanie Argy, Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: September 17, 2018
Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017

Back to being moonstruck

ON THE ANNIVERSARY of last year’s total solar eclipse, a team of engineering students and alumni released a video and high-resolution photos showing the eclipse shadow as it moved across Oregon. The video, One-of-a-kind eclipse (type that in, was stitched together from more than 1,200 panorama images taken by cameras mounted on weather balloons. The team launched the balloons, which flew to 100,000 feet, from Corvallis, Oregon, on August 21, 2017. This was part of a nationwide NASA-funded project. To see the photos, go to, type in Portland State and click on “People” to find the PSU site and the eclipse album.

PSU Urban Studies professor Lisa Bates

Professorship recognizes housing expert

WHEN URBAN Studies professor Lisa Bates looks at a neighborhood, she sees more than buildings. She sees how economic policy, institutional racism, and human perception can contribute to housing inequities, and how her scholarship can help change those outcomes. In recognition of her work, Bates was selected as the University’s Portland Professor in Innovative Housing Policy. Portland Professorships are designed to retain and recruit world-class faculty and are made possible by donors who provide $25,000 each year for five years. Bates’ professorship is being funded by Jim ’69 and MaryBeth Irvine, native Oregonians who believe that housing should be available to everyone.

Biketown bike station

Free bike use for students

ALL STUDENTS at Portland State now have free access to the orange bicycles provided by Biketown, a city-owned program that makes 1,000 shared bikes available at over 100 stations. Thanks to a new agreement between the University and Biketown, students who sign up for a membership can ride Biketown bikes for up to 90 minutes per day at no cost. Portland State is one of only five universities in the U.S. to receive a coveted Platinum rating from the League of American Bicyclists, and the new Biketown agreement gives students one more way to cycle around the city.

Bruno Jedynak, a Portland State computational mathematician

Computing Alzheimer’s

BEFORE SCIENTISTS can find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, they must understand what happens to the brain prior to obvious symptoms. Bruno Jedynak, a Portland State computational mathematician, is helping that effort by using a supercomputer to model the progression of the disease. Jedynak is one of the founding members of the Portland Institute for Computational Science, a PSU-based research tank that is home to a high-performance computing cluster with more than 16 terabytes of RAM. Jedynak is using the supercomputer to analyze thousands of medical clues called biomarkers, provided by the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, which follows elderly subjects with varying stages of cognitive impairment.

Portland State President Rahmat Shoureshi presented with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Shoureshi wins national honor

PORTLAND STATE President Rahmat Shoureshi was presented this spring with the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award is presented annually by the Ellis Island Honors Society to a select group of individuals “whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to our nation are cause for celebration.” Shoureshi, one of 100 recipients, was recognized because of his leadership and service to higher education and the community. The awards were presented in Ellis Island’s Great Hall, the historic gateway for 12 million immigrants to the United States.  Other recipients of the award included Oscar-winning actress Rita Moreno, Sirius XM founder Martine Rothblatt, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, and author and professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Richard L. Corsi, dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science; Susan Jeffords, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; and Mark McLellan, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies.

New leadership

THREE PROVEN ADMINISTRATORS joined the University this fall (left to right): Richard L. Corsi, dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science; Susan Jeffords, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; and Mark McLellan, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies. Each one has set an ambitious agenda that relies on forging strong partnerships with faculty and the community.

Consultants to examine campus safety

THE UNIVERSITY community continues to be saddened by the June 29 fatal officer-involved shooting of Jason Washington. PSU has hired independent experts to conduct separate reviews of the shooting and a top-to-bottom review of campus security and safety.

The University launched the independent reviews prior to the September decision by a Multnomah County Grand Jury that found insufficient evidence to indict the two PSU officers. In choosing the outside consultants, President Rahmat Shoureshi relied on input from an oversight committee of students, faculty, staff and members of the greater Portland community.

The consultants will thoroughly examine the details of the shooting, including all information from the Portland Police Bureau investigation that was presented to the grand jury. They will look at Campus Public Safety Office staffing and resources, officer training, the University’s relationship with local law enforcement, and how the campus has changed since December 2014, when the PSU Board of Trustees approved a sworn, armed police force. Their findings will serve as a road map for updating and modifying campus safety policies and procedures.

In addition, the consultants are planning eight to 10 public forums this fall to hear from students, faculty, staff and the Portland community.

“My hope is that our actions following this tragedy will help make our campus and community a safer place for years to come,” Shoureshi says.