The Oregon Convention Center’s $39 million renovation is well underway and recently completed its first phase. A major part of Phase 1 involved a structural change to the first and largest level of the venue that may not be immediately noticeable. Among the public spaces of the Center, a passageway was constructed to connect the North and South sides to improve accessibility for guests.
The size, unique architecture and multiple levels of the Center have frequently presented challenges, particularly for those with mobility limitations. Navigating from one side of the venue to the other historically required using numerous staircases, escalators or elevators.
It was a top priority for the Oregon Convention Center to implement a straightforward solution to this problem and improve access for the majority of guests around the building as part of this renovation project. This connector brings the original 1990 construction and 2003 expansion together to create a new pathway.
“Over the years, our visitors have expressed frustration in their experience traveling across the Center due to a complicated route with multiple level changes. As part of this renovation, we were determined to find an effective and long-term solution to enhance our guests’ experience,” says Oregon Convention Center Executive Director, Craig Stroud.
With the addition of the Level 1 Connector, guests can travel seamlessly between all exhibit halls and meeting rooms. The connector is now open for guests to use during their time at the Center.
In addition to solving accessibility challenges, the connector also cuts back significantly on energy usage associated with the facility’s escalators. The Center’s escalators that connect a single level use approximately 15,000 kWh of electricity annually to operate 12 hours per day. That energy use is equivalent to the annual average energy consumed by about 1.5 American homes.
“As one of the most sustainable venues in the nation, we are continually looking for ways to cut down energy usage and lessen our carbon footprint,” says Ryan Harvey, Sustainability Manager at the Oregon Convention Center. “The addition of the connector provides immense energy savings for the Center and a direct benefit to our community. Our renovation project is rooted in environmentally responsible practices and this is improvement is a prime example.”
About the Oregon Convention Center
The Oregon Convention Center is owned by Metro and managed by the Metro Exposition and Recreation Commission. OCC is a sustainably operated LEED® Platinum facility that hosts groups from around the world and brings millions of dollars into the Portland and Oregon economy.