Construction is underway on the Oregon Conservation Center, a renovation and expansion of The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters that reflects their environmentally-conscious mission. The design reclads and renovates the organization’s existing building and introduces a Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) addition that will serve as an event space, conference center, and social hub. The project is one of the first in the US to incorporate CLT that is both domestically fabricated and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Materials and landscapes specific to The Nature Conservancy’s priority projects are featured throughout the design, and are complemented by sustainable strategies such as solar panels, efficient building systems, and a green roof. Completion of the target LEED Gold project is expected in early 2019.

Learn more


Press Release

The Nature Conservancy and project^ Partner to Develop Headquarters

Newly Renovated “Oregon Conservation Center” will Reflect the Partnership’s Shared Values of Sustainability, Innovation, and Stewardship

PORTLAND, OR - November 29, 2018 - The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has enlisted the help of values-driven real estate developer project^, and award-winning design firm LEVER Architecture, to envision and redevelop their state headquarters in Portland, Oregon which will be named The Oregon Conservation Center (OCC).  

The revamped OCC incorporates natural and local resources and building methods that support the sustainable and ecological tenets of both organizations. The project is currently one of the first to utilize US-manufactured Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, considered the gold standard for sustainable forestry.

In addition to serving as the central office for the majority of staff for the state’s largest conservation non-profit, the OCC will serve as an event space, conference center, and communal venue for partner organizations.  

The OCC will be located on the existing site of the Conservancy’s antiquated headquarters on SE 14th Ave in Portland and is being re-developed according to an environmentally progressive design concept that “connects people and nature”. The existing building and site is being radically re-tooled, and a new addition will act as a convening space on the corner of SE Belmont and SE 14th Avenue.  

“We are proud to partner with The Nature Conservancy on the OCC project which perfectly aligns with our vision of a more sustainable future by re-using and recycling basic construction and then complementing the old with new technology and regional materials,” said Tom Cody, managing partner of project^. “Our mutual vision for this exciting development is to communicate an innovative use of wood and nature, inside and out, resulting in an open, inspiring and collaborative environment."

To realize its focus on energy efficiency, conservation, building innovation, and sustainable forestry, the OCC project is sourcing regionally harvested and locally manufactured materials which include Oregon juniper, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), cedar, boulders, river rock, and weathering steel. The new pavilion will also feature Oregon fabricated FSC-certified CLT and glue laminated beams.

With a core focus on significantly reducing environmental impact, project^ is on course to achieve LEED V4 Gold certification for the new building - one of the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) highest levels.

“We chose to partner with project^ because we recognize their attunement to the same core values that we represent at The Nature Conservancy,” said Jim Desmond, Oregon state director at The Nature Conservancy. “With stewardship, conservation, and inspiration as our guiding principles, we are confident that The Oregon Conservation Center will truly embody what our organization stands for while better enabling us to bring people together to take on the biggest challenges facing the nature that defines and sustains our state.”

For the OCC redevelopment, project^ and LEVER join forces with a collective of strong industry expertise that will drive the project’s success and promote the use of wood technologies. In addition to project^ and LEVER Architecture, the team includes Lease Crutcher Lewis Construction, KPFF Consulting Engineers, PAE Consulting Engineers, and Lando and Associates Landscape Architecture.

“We’re excited to be part of a project that embodies The Nature Conservancy’s commitment to protecting and restoring critical ecosystems,” said Thomas F. Robinson, principal, LEVER Architecture. “The design connects people and nature by integrating materials and landscapes that are specific to The Nature Conservancy’s priority projects around the state.”

Project^ and LEVER Architecture are the team behind the award-winning Framework building - the first permitted high-rise structure in the U.S. to be made from wood and the first earthquake resilient building of its kind in America. The R&D phase of the Framework project has been touted for its innovation, sustainable design, and pioneering research and represents many of the same values envisioned by The Nature Conservancy.

Construction began on the OCC project in March 2018 and is expected to be completed by early 2019.

Oregon Conservation Center (OCC) Design and Sustainability Highlights

  • New landscaping that reflects the ecology of the region and integrates the building into the neighborhood.
  • The preservation and redesign of the existing three-story building including a new rainscreen façade made from weathering steel and expanded window openings with high-performance glazing.
  • A new open plan layout that supports The Nature Conservancy’s inclusive and collaborative culture and brings abundant daylight to all workspaces.
  • A new one-story addition showcasing FSC-certified mass timber. The wood for the conference center originated from northern California and was fabricated into FSC-certified CLT panels and glu-lam beams and columns by DR Johnson in Riddle, Oregon.
  • The conference center is topped by a new roof garden with native plantings and an outdoor deck for gatherings.
  • Cedar decking materials, provided by Sustainable Northwest Wood, are FSC-certified and sourced from restoration projects on The Nature Conservancy’s Ellsworth Creek Preserve in Willapa Bay, Washington.
  • The juniper cladding on the ground floor is from The Nature Conservancy’s Juniper Hills Preserve, located in Eastern Oregon. The material was responsibly harvested as part of a rangeland restoration project; it was milled in Fossil, Oregon and provided by Sustainable Northwest Wood.
  • The wood slat ceiling material in the entry lobby was provided by Sustainable Northwest Wood. The slats are re-milled FSC-certified Douglas fir, grown on the Oregon coast.
  • The reception desk is locally fabricated, utilizing Oregon Restoration Juniper, and supplied by Sustainable Northwest Wood. Additional furniture items throughout the building are custom fabricated and utilize FSC-certified materials.
  • The wood windows are fabricated by Sierra Pacific in California, adhering to the environmental protection standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).
  • The new building has a high efficiency VRF system with heat recovery and has been designed to use 33% less energy than if the building had been built to code minimum.
  • The Photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the building will cover 25% of the total energy use for the building.