The new Portland Workforce Training Center (Metro Center) for Portland Community College will be an anchor for the community in Northeast Portland’s racially diverse Cully neighborhood. Replacing PCC’s existing facility, the expanded Center will create opportunities for low-income families and residents, transforming lives through education and connections to family-wage jobs. Guided by trauma-informed design and Design Justice principles, Bora’s design seeks to cultivate a culture of collective care by creating restorative and humanizing spaces that connect to nature and celebrate cultural diversity. The College’s first project to pioneer a mass timber structure, the Center will feature classrooms, a career center, gathering space, and surrounding greenspace.
Our approach to stakeholder and community engagement was guided by Critical Race Theory (CRT) and developed in partnership with Colloqate Design, a nationally recognized leader in design justice advocacy and organizing. This resulted in a vision for the Metro Center that more authentically reflects the values and needs of its community.
Reflecting the stewardship of its public investment, the Metro Center is designed to reduce embodied carbon impacts and maximize the well-being of everyone who uses the space. The innate warmth of the cross-laminated timber is featured in the “carve away” form of the building and carries into the calming interior, where custom murals in the community room and lobby will elevate the stories of the people and the neighborhood. Abundant indoor-outdoor connections will activate the adjacent courtyard and street year-round.