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Rendering of New School of Public Health building

New SW 4th and Montgomery Building Dedication: “A Change Is Going To Come”

Dr. David Bangsberg, dean of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, joined leaders from Portland State University (PSU), Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Portland Community College, and the City of Portland on Monday, September 21, for the the Community Blessing and Dedication Ceremony for the new SW Fourth and Montgomery Building on PSU’s downtown Portland campus.

Bansgberg and others spoke at length about anti-racism, responding to a recent hate incident this past May on the construction site for the building which is slated to open later this fall. “The School of Public Health has room for students seeking to end racism, climate change, and COVID-19,” Bangsberg declared, “but there is no room for hate.”

PSU President Stephen Percy and the other leaders highlighted how they planned to ensure that change could come and hopes for racial justice could be realized. As part of this effort, this October PSU will convene for a racial equity summit, which Percy said would envision “a just and equitable future” and chart a course toward that future. “Friends, this work runs deep,” Percy added. “It requires passion and compassion, commitment, authenticity, and sustained work.”

All of the speakers expressed their belief in the strength and opportunities that their partnership could provide during the ceremony. The speakers, who stood in PSU’s Urban Plaza with the in-progress structure standing behind them, also agreed that change could come if we work for it together and highlighted how they planned to ensure that change could come and hopes for racial justice could be realized.

The 175,000-square-foot building, which will be completed in late November, will house the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, PSU College of Education, PCC’s dental programs, and office for the City of Portland Bureau of Sustainability.

The collaboration of multiple groups is clear in the diversity of services the seven-story building will contain: low-cost mental health facilities, classrooms, offices, retail shops and a dental clinic.

“Throughout history, it’s been coalitions of the willing, like this one between OHSU, PSU, Portland Community College, and the City of Portland around shared values, goals, and objectives that have transformed society,” OHSU President Danny Jacobs said. “The people, programs, and things that will occupy this space will provide tremendous opportunity. It’s up to us to act.”

The day served as a milestone as leaders united to take a stand against hate and share their hope for the future. OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Assistant Professor Ryan Petteway shared his passion for change with a poem:

“So as we gather beneath a listening sky
to bless these grounds,
feel the pulse of the ‘fierce urgency of now’
echoing the earth beneath our feet,
facing forward
in the violence of silence between
wrecking balls
and cranes:
We stand.
This is our Land.”
Watch the full ceremony on PSU’s YouTube channel.