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Mt Scott Community Center Closes Temporarily for Seismic Retrofit, Expansion

News Article
SE Portland Center Improves Safety, Service with Significant Upgrades
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(Portland, OR) –

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is preparing to rehabilitate and expand Mt. Scott Community Center (MSCC) to better serve current and future generations of Portlanders. The existing Mt Scott pool and gymnasium will remain as is, along with the popular indoor skating rink. The aging building, parts of which date from the 1920s, will receive a new roof and HVAC upgrades. Other improvements include about 2800 more square feet of recreation space, new and improved fitness areas, and a large event hall for community use.

The center will close to the public on November 23, 2023. The project is expected to be complete in the spring of 2025.

A rendering of the planned Mt Scott Community Center after improvements. Courtesy of FFA Architecture and Interiors, Inc.
A rendering of the planned Mt Scott Community Center after improvements. Courtesy of FFA Architecture and Interiors, Inc.

“Construction can be messy and inconvenient, but it is necessary,” notes Portland Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan. “The outcome of this important project will be a better and safer building, a showcase community center for Southeast Portland.”

“As it has been for generations, the revitalized Mt Scott Community Center will be a place for making lifelong memories,” says PP&R Director Adena Long. “We are excited about these major improvements and the benefits for all Portlanders they will provide.”

Info about swimming, programming, options elsewhere with PP&R

During construction, Mt. Scott Community Center preschool offerings, activities, and classes will be delivered at multiple Portland Parks & Recreation sites close to MSCC, including Woodstock Community Center, Arleta, Lane, Grout SUN Community Schools, and the East Portland Community Center.

Swimming activities will be relocated to East Portland Community Center Pool, where Portland Parks & Recreation is offering an expanded schedule.

Visit www.portland.gov/parks/mt-scott-community-center for program information. That page will be updated with the temporary locations of popular MSCC classes along with details on where fitness instructors will be based.

Thanks to the Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy) we can offer reduced pricing options for people who live within the City of Portland via Portland Parks & Recreation’s Access Pass.  City of Portland residents can register for a free Access Pass to receive an ongoing discount on bureau programs of up to 90%. The pass is valid for 12 months from the date of enrollment. No proof of income is required.

You can use an Access Pass to reduce the price of the following:

  • Admission to recreation centers and pools
  • Classes, camps, swim lessons, and other registered activities
  • Preschool and after-school programs
  • Personal training

Visit www.portland.gov/parks/mt-scott-community-center#toc-access-pass-reduced-pricing for more Access Pass information.

Project Overview

Mt. Scott Community Center provides court sports, Lifelong Recreation programs, an indoor swimming pool, roller skating, exercise/fitness classes (including yoga) preschool programs, day camps, art and music classes, teen activities, private parties, community gatherings, rental/party spaces, and more.

Like many public facilities, the Mt. Scott Community Center building complex has grown over time through an incremental funding process. The existing community center consists of an ad-hoc collection of different linked buildings dating from the 1920s through the 1990s. Most of the facility, outside of the natatorium, was built prior to the 1960s and has been designated by the City of Portland as an unreinforced masonry building. In order to improve community safety PP&R has embarked on a renovation project to bring the Mt. Scott Community Center building to current seismic compliance. In addition to the safety project, PP&R will be expanding the building to improve access for people with disabilities, as well as increasing recreational programming. As a first step in realizing the rehabilitation, a comprehensive visual condition assessment was undertaken. The three steps involved in Phase I, include a condition assessment, functional programming, functional assessment of the existing facility, and conceptual approaches to maximize the use of the current center, along with conceptual recommendations for improving operations and program offerings.

Significant demolition and construction will necessitate the closure of the community center that will last approximately 18 months. 

Project funding includes $15 million from the Build Portland 2018 initiative and $7 million from the Mayor’s Livability Emergency Coordination funds. The MSCC improvements are also made possible by more than $12 million in Parks System Development Charges (SDCs). SDCs are not General Fund tax dollars; rather they are one-time fees assessed on new development and can only be used to expand the capacity of the park system (for example, new park developments), not maintenance. SDC funds help ensure that Portland's quality of life keeps pace with our growing and changing city by providing the additional park and recreation facilities needed to accommodate growth.

Mt Scott Community Center project page: www.portland.gov/parks/construction/mt-scott-community-center-seismic-retrofit-and-expansion-project

A Sustainable Future

The Portland Parks & Recreation system is facing a major maintenance backlog of around $600 million. This amount has been identified but remains unfunded. In recent years, several assets have failed and had to be closed or removed to protect the public. Without new, stable funding, the bureau predicts that one in five PP&R assets will fail in the next fifteen years.

Portland Parks & Recreation continues to work with Commissioner Ryan, who is looking forward to more conversations about supporting maintenance at the levels needed to prevent future closures, and how we as a community can make that happen. The Bureau and Commissioner’s office are exploring various ways to help close this funding gap, while still managing risk, through the Sustainable Future program.

For more information about PP&R funding, visit Understanding Our Funding Sources.

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