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National University of Natural Medicine Puts Portland Campus Up for Sale

The large, centrally located property hits the market at a time of flux for Portland real estate.

For the second time in a year, a higher education campus is on the market in Portland.

The National University of Natural Medicine has listed its South Portland campus for sale. The site sits on 5.17 acres of property located near I-5, I-405 and Sunset Highway. It’s also close to downtown, Oregon Health & Science University and the South Waterfront. The campus includes seven buildings containing 126,000 square feet of office, classroom and lab space.

The university, the nation’s oldest accredited naturopathic university, founded in 1956, announced on Sept. 30 that it would seek to move to a new campus.

“NUNM’s current campus in downtown Portland, Ore., has served our community well since 1996,” said the university’s president, Dr. Melanie Henriksen, in a Sept. 30 statement. “Now, we have an opportunity to create a new, integrated home for the next generation of naturopathic doctors and researchers, nutritionists, and classical Chinese medicine practitioners.”

The university bought what was originally Josiah Failing Elementary School 25 years ago. Henriksen said after its experience with remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, her administration decided to relocate. The university has hired GBD Architects to oversee designing a new campus.

The proposed sale follows on the heels of the closure of Concordia University in Northeast Portland. Concordia’s 24-acre campus, which is located in a residential area, is far larger than NUNM’s, but both offer rare opportunities for redevelopment as the city of Portland struggles through a long-term housing shortage.

In recent years, the Portland Housing Bureau has bought properties to land-bank for future development. The city already owns one large chunk of centrally located property partially earmarked for housing: the site of the main downtown U.S. Post Office in the Pearl District. In a recent interview, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty expressed frustration that the city had not moved aggressively to acquire the Concordia campus, so there may at least be discussion of whether City Hall could play a role in what happens with the NUNM property.

The brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield has the listing for NUNM. The firm is not advertising a price but rather is seeking bids from interested buyers.