Portland Community College's elected board of directors approved the college’s president or his designee to negotiate a purchase and sale agreement at its monthly public board meeting regarding property in Columbia County. The parcel of land – just over 17 acres – is earmarked for the Training Center as part of the regional Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center project.
Located just north of Wagner Court and east of West Lane Road, in Scappoose, the property under consideration is owned by SPB Holdings, LLC, from whom the college has a signed letter of intent. In terms of next steps, the college will begin a phase one environmental scan and conditional use permit process on the property for due diligence purposes. These will be conducted simultaneously over several months.
“We’re thrilled to be able to announce this news,” said Mark Mitsui, PCC president. “This piece of property meets our needs in a complete way. The infrastructure is already in place, enabling us to build quickly. It’s close to Highway 30, so it offers easy access for our students and the local community. And finally, its proximity to the OMIC Research & Development Center was another important factor in our decision.
“Many thanks to our constituents in Columbia County, who have patiently waited as the college researched property options. PCC is delighted to soon have a permanent facility and presence in Scappoose to serve you,” Mitsui added.
The college plans to launch construction in summer 2019, with fall 2020 as the estimated opening of the Training Center, focused on advanced manufacturing and offering such programs as Computer Numerically Controlled Operation, Machining, Welding and Mechatronics. Programs will be based on an apprenticeship model, whereby students will be able to complete an associate degree or certificate leading to an advanced degree. Until the Training Center’s opening, courses will be taught in temporary locations, including at Scappoose High School.
The center is part of the regional OMIC project, which seeks to combine applied research and development and workforce training to serve the region’s advanced manufacturers, and create economic mobility for area residents to access living wage careers in the metals manufacturing industry. It will complement OMIC R&D, which is modeled after the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in partnership with Boeing in Sheffield, England. Its Scappoose facility is owned and administered by the Oregon Institute of Technology (www.OMIC.us).
The announcement of the property purchase and sale agreement comes on the heels of nearly a year’s worth of milestone accomplishments related to PCC’s Training Center:
February 2018, representatives from Vigor, Evraz, Rightline Equipment and JC Customer Machine & Design formed a Joint Apprenticeship Committee for OMIC. The JATC worked with PCC and the Bureau of Labor and Industries to begin developing apprenticeships.
May 2018, a facility design build firm was selected. Mortenson Construction, with Hennebery Eddy Architects, was tapped from a competitive pool of RFPs to lead the planning and implementation of the Training Center.
In June 2018, the Oregon State Apprenticeship and Training Council approved the first OMIC registered apprenticeship standards for machinists.
- August 2018, PCC brought in a national workforce agency, the National Coalition for Advanced Technology Centers, to host OMIC training center stakeholder meetings and provide recommendations on the facility.
- In October 2018, PCC collaborated with OMIC R&D and a variety of community and business and industry partners to host the first “Makers Gone Pro West” event. More than 230 local area high school students and nearly 40 manufacturers, makers, and robotics teams participated.
- Also in October, PCC hosted a kick-off meeting for a new K-12 council, in partnership with Stand for Children. School district superintendents and PCC leaders attended the event, which illustrated how OMIC is establishing strong pathways for both Career Technical Education and transfer students in the local area.
“OMIC will be transformational for Columbia County and northwest Oregon, and I am excited to see it continue to grow and move forward,” said U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici, whose congressional district includes Columbia County.
“Advanced manufacturing has a bright future in Oregon, and the training center will provide workers with both the classroom and on-the-job learning they need to fill high-demand, living wage jobs in advanced manufacturing.
“I am proud to be a champion for OMIC and will continue to support efforts that use education to strengthen our local economy,” she said.