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Making Space for Everyone

News Article
For years, Civic Life employees have been spread throughout Portland—some working in the City Hall Building, others at Penumbra Kelly Building on East Burnside. But now, almost all Civic Life employees are finally coming together to work under one roof at the newly renovated Portland Building.
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On July 2, the Oregon Health Authority announced that Oregon officially reached its 70% statewide vaccination goal. The following week, the City of Portland announced its employees would begin a “soft re-entry” into their offices.

The option for Civic Life employees to slowly come back to the office is a big change, but so is the location where we are returning to. For years, Civic Life employees have been spread throughout Portland—some working in the City Hall Building, others at Penumbra Kelly Building on East Burnside. But now, almost all Civic Life employees (Civic Life’s City-run District Coalition offices will continue to be located offsite) are finally coming together to work under one roof at the newly renovated Portland Building.

The Portland Building, designed by renowned architect Michael Graves and topped with Raymond Kaskey’s massive copper Portlandia statue, recently went through a huge renovation to retain the its postmodern architectural style while updating building materials to better safeguard against earthquakes and weather, improve accessibility for all occupants and visitors, and update the electric, mechanical, plumbing, and technical systems.

Another significant change made to the building are the installation of gender-neutral bathrooms. The bathroom change may seem insignificant, but it is an important signifier that our City is committed to building inclusive spaces for everyone—especially as 2021 is becoming a record-breaking year for anti-transgender legislation.

Gender-neutral bathrooms allow for people, regardless of their gender identity, to use the bathroom safely. In fact, this renovation change ensures that no one feels uncomfortable, unwelcome, or harassed for using the restroom of their choice. The restrooms have stalls with doors that reach to the floor and for those that feel uncomfortable using the gender-neutral bathrooms, there are single user restrooms available directly adjacent.

For now, the Portland Building is closed to the public but as our city, state and nation begin to slowly ease pandemic restrictions, we are excited to invite people to visit this newly renovated building that has been built to be an inclusive space for everyone.