The Yards at Union Station Portland, Oregon

What began as an underutilized quasi-industrial site in Portland’s Pearl District neighborhood was transformed into a nationally-recognized example of successful urban redevelopment. The Yards at Union Station would mark the district’s first housing project, and it set the tone for subsequent redevelopment in the area. An existing development of four and five-story buildings would grow to include turning 7.5 acres of decommissioned rail yards into a vibrant addition to the newly minted residential community, altogether offering a total of 724 rental and for-sale units for tenants of varying income ranges.

Brownfield Site Development to Revitalize Portland’s Historic Union Station Railyards

Constructed in 1896, Portland Union Station is an established landmark for the city that’s easily recognizable for both it’s Romanesque and Queen Anne architecture as well as its 150-foot clock tower. Sitting adjacent to the Yards at Union Station project site, terra cotta and molded brick of the Union Station building – which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 – provides the basis for a cohesive motif in the neighborhood. To complement the surrounding neighborhood and redevelopment, Otak’s design for Lot 5 reflects the atmosphere of the historic rail yard. Use of the rail yards contaminated the soil meaning Lot 5 for The Yards at Union Station would be developed on a brownfield site. The opportunity to clean up the site for redevelopment allows for the space to be safely reinvested in the community. This sustainable design also includes stormwater planters, energy-efficient lighting and native plantings among other features. With a priority on equity the city of Portland emphasizes that its investment make sure projects address the community’s greatest unmet community needs not only in housing but in economic equity. With over 200 jobs created, this project also exceeds the City’s MWESB goals for diversity in contracting on its way to becoming a viable residential neighborhood in the heart of the city.

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