Thank goodness for smart people and the smart people who elect them! The latest grand scheme to reboot Oregon's moribund economy is the Oregon Sustainability Center - a new office tower in Portland, that will also have space for non-profits and some Portland State University classrooms. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, to begin with there is no shortage of empty office space already, thanks to a very unfriendly business climate that is chasing productive people out of state and/or putting them out of business. What's "sustainable" about building more and more buildings when many are already vacant?
Then there's the cost. Keep in mind that economy housing can be built for about $50 per sq ft. A really nice house might be $100 per sq ft. An outrageous luxury home might hit $200 per sq ft. Typical commercial construction is around $120 per sq ft. This "sustainable" project is going to be OVER $400 per square foot! But wait, there's way more stupidity yet to be found in here. This building will operate OFF THE GRID, functioning only on the solar power it can generate off it's own panels, and the only water will be WHATEVER RAINWATER THEY ARE ABLE TO CAPTURE off the roof. Tenants of the building will be asked to "tolerate higher indoor temperatures in the summer and lower temperatures in the winter" than tenants of non-retarded commercial buildings nearby. Do these morons even realize that "sun" for their power and "rain" for their water are kind of exclusive of each other? Hey ecofreak - do you want to sit in the dark with a cool glass of rainwater, or turn on the lights and go thirsty? Ya can't have both!
Now if this were just a tale of some self-congratulatory hippies gathering their own funds to put up a building wherein they could sweatily bask in their own sustainable non-air-conditioned body odor - I really wouldn't care. But the Oregon University System is kicking in a lot of the $75 million this project requires. Yes, public funds, at a time when everybody's b****ing about the state universities' funding problems.
A grossly overpriced building, extremely limited in its functionality, adjacent to scads of vacant (and superior) buildings counts as "sustainable" here. Nuke Oregon now. Please.