Mayor Sam Adams announced this afternoon that he will stop pursuing the Oregon Sustainability Center—even though he secured a private tenant last month in a late-stage effort to salvage his pet project.
Adams said in a statement that he doesn't have enough City Council support for the green tower, the tallest in the world without a carbon footprint.
"At the request of my City Council colleagues, we found a private partner—Interface Engineering—that offered to co-own the proposed cutting-edge building," Adams said. "Nonetheless, it’s become clear to me this week that I don’t have the votes necessary to pass the project through Portland City Council and we won’t be moving forward."
"My proposed 'Living Building' is dead," he later added on Twitter.
At eight stories and $62 million, the Sustainability Center has been criticized as a waste of money, and lawmakers this spring refused to authorize state bonds to help finance it.
WW reported in September that the Portland Development Commission had been in contract negotiations with Interface for a shorter, cheaper tower. (It also got a new name, the Innovation Center, though obviously the title never had much chance to catch on.)
But City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz have said in the past week they won't support even a smaller, privately anchored version of the project. The candidates to replace Adams as mayor have also expressed skepticism, though Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-East Portland) has recently sounded more open to a scaled-down proposal.
Read Nigel Jaquiss' original cover story on the Sustainability Center here.