News

Park Blocks: Winter 2019
Author: Madison Schultz, Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: February 1, 2019
PSU establishes Native Studies degree

Establishing Native studies

OREGON’S FIRST bachelor's degree program in Indigenous Nations and Native American Studies started this fall at the University. All students may enroll in the program, not just Native students such as Serina Fast Horse, who graduated last year Magna Cum Laude in community development. She was presented with a blanket during a ceremony that honors graduating Native students regardless of their major. The new Native Studies degree was approved after years of effort and a petition signed by hundreds. A minor has been offered since 2002, but the long-term goal was always to establish a major, says Winston Grady-Willis, director of the School of Gender, Race and Nations, which houses the degree program. Photo by Shayla Naswood.
Revitalizing Umatilla

Revitalizing Umatilla

A DOWNTOWN plan for Umatilla, a small Eastern Oregon town ideally located at the confluence of the Columbia and Umatilla rivers, has earned a team of Portland State students a national award. In collaboration with the town’s residents, “Umatilla Together: A Framework Plan” was created by students in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program. The plan, which won the 2018 American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Student Project Award, creates a vision to revitalize the city’s downtown core and increase community livability. Students have designed more than 30 plans for local cities and neighborhoods in the past five years and have won more national AICP awards than students in any other planning program in the United States.
Richard and Maurine Neuberger

Re-honoring the Neubergers

THE NAME Neuberger has been associated with the University since well before 1972, when PSU renamed the former South Park Hall after journalist, politician, and longtime PSU supporter, Richard L. Neuberger. The name has now switched buildings. The Richard and Maurine Neuberger Center is the new name of PSU’s Market Center Building at southwest Fourth and Market, home to many PSU administrative functions, including the President’s office. The new name was chosen by the University as a way of carrying on the Neuberger name while the old Neuberger Hall—which eventually will be called something else—undergoes a massive renovation. Photo by Don Dill/Oregon Historical Society Lot 1007.
Giving everyone a voice

Giving everyone a voice

FOR PEOPLE who are transgender or gender diverse having a voice that doesn’t match their identity can be a daily source of distress. Portland State’s Oregon Scottish Rite Speech and Language Clinic hopes to alleviate some of the hurt through its new Gender Communication Lab. The free clinic helps people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, meaning they don’t always identify as the sex they were assigned at birth, change their voice without harming their vocal cords, says Jeff Conn, clinic director. This is achieved through breathing, articulation, pitch and other techniques in group and individual sessions. “Their voice can feel like a betrayal,” says Conn. “We want to help.”
Sleeping pods for veterans

Sleeping pods for veterans

IN OCTOBER, a group of veterans moved into their brand-new sleeping pods in a transitional village for houseless veterans in Clackamas County—a project that came about through the contributions of students and faculty in the School of Architecture and Center for Public Interest Design. The village’s 15 tiny dwellings were constructed from several hundred wooden trusses, last seen as the primary building material for the Treeline Stage at 2017’s Pickathon music festival, which was designed and built by architecture students. Students and faculty provided research into veterans’ housing needs, collaborated on the site design, contributed to pod design and construction, and helped with landscaping the new community.
Portland State University student Alyssa Heminger

Free tuition draws students

ALYSSA HEMINGER cried when she found out she qualified for PSU’s Transfers Finish Free program. Now, instead of taking out private loans to finance her education, Heminger can put her money toward study abroad programs or graduate school. “I have been afforded unimaginable opportunities,” says Heminger, 21, who transferred from Portland Community College. This program and the Four Years Free opportunity for freshmen brought more than 2,000 new students to PSU this year. Both programs cover tuition and fees for full-time, low-income students who are eligible for federal Pell grants and Oregon Opportunity Grants. 
The power of natural regeneration

The power of natural regeneration

AFTER A FIRE, forest managers often turn to salvage logging and replanting in an attempt to regenerate conifer forests, but according to a new study by researchers at PSU and Oregon State University, such actions might be unnecessary. The study found that 20 years after the Klamath fires in southwestern Oregon and northern California, even in severely burned areas Douglas fir trees grew back on their own. “We forget about the power of natural regeneration,” says Melissa Lucash, geography faculty at PSU and a co-author of the study. Lucash suggests that resources could instead be reallocated elsewhere, perhaps to thinning forests to prevent extreme wildfires.