The OMSI Consortium is soliciting subject matter experts and qualified vendors to participate in a series of short virtual workshops during the months of October-December 2020, culminating in a Q1 2021 Request for Proposal (RFP) to build a showcase integrated district infrastructure solution to serve the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s 23-acre site with the potential to develop up to 3 million square feet of new, low-carbon, mixed-use construction in ​ Portland’s Central City Plan District​. Workshop details will be released to confirmed participants.

OMSI exterior.jpg


Partners: Gerding Edlen, SERA Architects, Long Haul Capital Group, Urban.Systems, Farkas Group, Portland General Electric, Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, Bullitt Foundation, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The OSMI Redevelopment

In August 2018, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, selected a consortium comprised of Gerding Edlen (as the Master Developer), SERA Architects, Long Haul Capital Group, Urban.Systems, the Farkas Group (the “OMSI Consortium”) along with Amplified By Design to advise OMSI during the creation and approval of a city-approved master plan and execute on the development of the 11 acres of OMSI-owned land surrounding the museum. The OMSI District Redevelopment project is critical to the City of Portland’s 2035 master plan to turn Portland’s central city into a thriving, inclusive, and sustainable urban core while at the same time extending OMSI’s educational and innovation mission.

As one of the largest parcels available for development in Portland’s central city, the OMSI Redevelopment will anchor the southeast corner of ​ Portland’s Green Loop​ , a close-in circular corridor intended to serve and promote low-carbon lifestyles and commerce. The OMSI District Redevelopment will also anchor the Central Eastside Industrial District (“CEID”), one of twelve distinct neighborhoods that comprise Portland’s Central City. The CEID is bordered by the Willamette River on the west, SE 12th Avenue to the East, Interstate 84 to the North, and Route 26 to the South.

Left underdeveloped because of its industrial legacy: geographic separation due to topography, highways, and rail lines; and OMSI’s parking needs, the OMSI site still retains good connectivity to the city. The site maintains street grid access to the north and southeast, while the adjacent multimodal transit stops and river pathways offer convenient pedestrian and bicycle access. The region's investment in the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, streetcar, light rail, and bus rapid transit infrastructure make the OMSI station one of the City's most transit-oriented​ . T ​ he site’s relative isolation has also meant that the existing sewer infrastructure needed for denser development is presently undersized, presenting an opportunity for more sustainable district-scale water treatment and reuse systems, rather than traditional water infrastructure solutions.

District-scale Utilities and the OMSI Redevelopment

OMSI and the OMSI Consortium are committed to demonstrating that new Central City redevelopment can achieve deep sustainability, social equity, and residential and maker space delivered across a range of affordability (i.e. market rate + multiple affordability tiers), all while generating fiscal benefits to OMSI and the City. At the heart of this demonstration is the hypothesis that the systems that deliver electricity, heating & cooling, water, and mobility services today are siloed, centralized, and inefficient, but that these systems can be integrated [both on-site, and with an area’s electrical distribution network for benefits to the community beyond the District] to provide higher-quality service at lower prices, all at net-zero carbon performance or better. This approach will include modular and flexible strategies, and agile methods to ensure district [and grid-interactive] systems can be operated, maintained, and where necessary, replaced to take advantage of evolving technology advancements.

This series of workshops is meant to explore best in class district infrastructure solutions within the OMSI District. At the heart of our approach is an integrated district-serving utility system that will focus on the “Core Four” overlapping subsystems, with base capacity built during the first phase of development and then extended over a 10+ year phased district redevelopment. The workshops will explore the optimal approach to design, ownership, and operations of integrated district systems. The Core Four subsystems are:

  • Electrical Energy Systems (on-site generation, transmission and storage, grid-interaction)
  • Water Systems (potable, storm, waste & recycled)
  • Thermal Energy Systems (heating & cooling)
  • Parking/mobility/logistics

As appropriate, key elements of the district utility systems will be housed within a replicable facility we refer to as an “InfraCenter,” which may be co-located with the Center for Tribal Nations (see description below). In addition, all systems will be designed to contribute to the educational mission of OMSI, through exposed controls, equipment, and distribution networks that OMSI can integrate into its campus exhibits. Complementary district solutions, including urban habitat and food production, nutrient management, and data/IT solutions​ ​ will be integrated with the Core Four utility subsystems wherever possible. (See appendix for examples of potential solutions)

The developer and owner of these systems will be InfraCenters LLC, a joint venture created by OMSI Consortium members SERA Architects and Long Haul Capital Group. To ensure interoperability and to future-proof the OMSI District, all system elements will be required to expose common and open interfaces for integration within a district operating system. This “open-source” district integration platform is being developed by, a 501(c)6 not-for-profit. The system will be developed in accordance with the ​ IES-City​ framework supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), US Green Building Council (USGBC), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), Ministry of Science and ICT (South Korea), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), and the European FIWARE Foundation. Urban Systems will productize this operating system, providing commercial support and integration with the district infrastructure.

The Center for Tribal Nations

Envisioned as an integrated package of one or more buildings, infrastructure, and riverfront restoration, the Center for Tribal Nations seeks to meaningfully restore Native Peoples​ ​ connection to the Willamette River watershed while modeling a new relationship focused on collaboration to promote innovative solutions to the shared challenges of sustainability, resilience, and inclusion shared by native and non-native peoples alike.

The Center concept is anchored by 21st-century office and community gathering space for Native people and tribal and intertribal organizations who live in, work in, or visit the Portland metropolitan region. With the assistance of a planning grant from the Metro Regional Government, currently in final negotiations, the Tribal community is scheduled to identify and begin planning for a robust mix of uses, such as ceremonial space for cultural and family events, an educational embassy accessible to the public for educational programming and people-to-people encounters, a commercial community kitchen, tribal retail and business services, dining, and child care. Modeling this new Tribal/non-tribal partnership, the planning will seek to incorporate traditional ecological knowledge into the broader OMSI District in two ways:

  • Planning a Waterfront Education Park rooted in a restoration of the OMSI District’s 1⁄3-mile riverfront. Building on the City’s ​ Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan​ , the design of the Waterfront Education Park will affirm and sustain Native Peoples connection to the river, and provide educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities for all citizens.
  • Developing a preliminary concept for advanced district sustainability. The planning grant will identify advanced embodied carbon standards for all structures and integrate features such as green roofs and transportation demand management solutions. The Center for Tribal Nations will be designed to host an “InfraCenter” that will blend Traditional Ecological Knowledge and circular economy concepts to create a hub for net-zero district utilities providing the OMSI District with electrical energy, water/recycled water, thermal energy, and mobility services (the Core Four).

Workshop Participation Agreement

Prior to attendance of the first Workshop, each participating firm is required to execute a Workshop Participation Agreement. This Agreement will be circulated in a separate email for each firm’s review and approval. Consistent with the spirit of the collaborative nature of these Workshops, the Agreement will define the use of a Creative Commons License ‘Attribution CC BY’ to share and adapt the information shared by each participating firm. A list of all participating firms will be circulated prior to the first Workshop.

Definition of the “Tracks”

Infrastructure (Core-4 “hardware”)

  • The “Core-4” disciplines are: Thermal energy, Electrical energy, Water systems and Transportation systems
  • The Infrastructure Track has Core-4 industry experts, from both the private sector and NGOs. At the completion of the Bullitt process we will issue a Core-4 Infrastructure RFP. Integration of other systems (like food systems) will be done, with the selected Infrastructure team, during the Metro grant process and afterwards
  • Strawman version numbers refer to the fact that the Strawman will get increasingly refined from each charrette
  • The technology imperative of the need for Open APIs within the various systems will be clarified at the beginning of the Infrastructure Track, and reiterated throughout the process.
  • OMSI Workshop Infrastructure Meeting Schedule

Technology (District “software”)

  • The Technology track will run ahead of Infrastructure team and interact with the Infrastructure team at key points.
  • This track will add substance to the IES-City framework developed with the National Institute of Standards.
    • Core code components will be identified and made available to the infrastructure teams.
    • Where available Open APIs will be identified and where missing will be documented for future development.
  • OMSI Workshop Technology Meeting Schedule


  • There will be a select group from the technology team that will work closely with the Infrastructure track meetings


  • We are identifying a group of advisors with particular expertise who while not being available to participate in a large group charrette format are willing and able to be consulted independently by members of our team between some or all of the charrettes.

Appendix 1: District Map

File:District Map.jpg

Appendix 2:

A List of Potential OMSI District System Components:

(Note: This is a preliminary brainstorm list - not all systems listed are expected to be incorporated into the final OMSI infrastructure plan)

Four Core Subsystems

District microgrid
  • Zero Carbon operations management
  • Two-way exchange of electric power into the public utility’s grid
  • Off-site and on-site renewable electricity generation
  • Deploy battery electricity storage
  • Balance electricity exchange (buildings, V2G EV chargers, etc.)
  • Consider electric bus charging station for TriMet and OMSI
  • Consider DC grids where appropriate
  • Eliminate diesel generator backup
Local generation
  • micro-turbines in district water/wastewater piping
  • Geothermal
  • Sewer system heat mining
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Waste to Biochar
Thermal Energy
  • Central Utility Plant
  • District heat pump systems
  • High Performance Buildings
  • Geothermal and/or geoexchange
  • High-efficiency potable water use in buildings
  • Rainwater capture
  • Blackwater treatment and mining as part of a district sewage treatment system.
  • Groundwater capture, use, filtration and discharge if underground garages require dewatering.
  • Recycled water for non-potable uses
  • Greywater reuse
  • Humidity harvesting
  • Smart parking with real time sensors monitoring to make more efficient use of available space.
  • Parking structures which can be converted to other uses.
  • Parking structures which can be disassembled and recycled.
  • Water ferry service near the site which can reduce car trips.
  • Cameras and parking stall sensors to track parking use and facilitate more efficient utilization.
  • Data wallet to provide people with information on transit options and transportation incentives.
  • On-demand electric shuttles partnering with Portland General Electric (PGE).
  • Micro-mobility options
  • Expand on existing REDD food depot and bicycle delivery adding freight depot and sustainable delivery options.

Complementary District Solutions

Urban Habitat and Food Systems Strategies
  • Wildlife corridors and nodes within and beyond the district (horizontal site surfaces, roofs, walls + bird-safe design standards). Certification through Audubon.
  • Increase tree canopy in the district to help meet the City’s goal of 33.3% canopy cover by 2035.
  • Biophilic strategies incorporated in buildings to support human interaction with nature.
  • Urban food production (soil based or hydroponic).
Nutrient Management Strategies
  • Cradle to cradle production concepts
  • Waste to Biochar
  • Resource sharing infrastructure
  • Create electronic and physical infrastructure for matching waste of one company to inputs of another company.
Data/IT Strategies
  • 5G implementation
  • Open source platform
  • LoRa for IOT and asset tracking
  • Sensor network (energy, waste, air quality, water quality, traffic, etc.)
  • Building information systems
  • Safety and security

Final Report

The final report is in two parts, an OMSI Workshop Summary and an presentation deck.