This month Portland Public Schools, community leaders, current and former students, designers and contractors celebrated the groundbreaking for a major renovation of Portland’s 105-year-old Benson Polytechnic High School.
The specialized school draws students from all over the city to focus on career technical education (CTE). Funded by a 2017 voter-approved bond, Benson Tech is undergoing a massive modernization led by Bassetti Architects with site design by Mayer/Reed. The design team is collaborating through an integrated project delivery process with Andersen Construction.
Mayer/Reed’s site design respects the historic school’s classic symmetry while incorporating accessibility and flexible-use spaces throughout. Connected to the student commons, an internal courtyard provides a plaza and stadium seating for dining, group studies and small events. On the building’s east side, the CTE courtyard is a multi-faceted, programmable space that prioritizes student work areas and outdoor classrooms.
The three-year construction process also includes an adjacent new 85,000 SF multi-story building to house the school district’s Multiple Pathways to Graduation (MPG) program. The school will be a distinct learning community designed to support various alternative education options. With a focus on providing a safe and secure facility influenced by trauma-informed best practices, the MPG building and site create positive social connections and special school identity through a connection to nature and biophilic design. Mayer/Reed’s site elements include an outdoor classroom, science-oriented roof terrace, a daycare play area and connections to Buckman Field Park.
The Benson Polytechnic High School campus projects are expected to open to students and faculty in the fall of 2024.
Portland Parks & Recreation has selected Mayer/Reed to lead the design of Mill Park in East Portland’s Mill Park neighborhood. The design will activate 5.66 acres of currently undeveloped land as a recreation focal point for the racially and culturally diverse community, creating a welcoming destination for year-round activities. A 2017 approved master plan identified publicly desired amenities such as gathering and picnic spaces, a shelter, sports fields, splash pad, community gardens and a playground.
The Mayer/Reed team will advance a design that celebrates the growing neighborhood. Our team, led by Jeramie Shane, ASLA and Tim Strand, ASLA, includes local artist Alex Chiu in support of art and community representation. Alex is an illustrator, educator, painter and muralist whose colorful work evolves from engagement with community members. The balance of the consultant team comprises minority-owned, woman-owned and emerging small business firms.
The team has started public involvement and technical investigations for the park which is expected to open in the summer of 2024.
Mayer/Reed has named experiential graphic designers Mike Hawks and Bryan Stevens Associate and hired senior designers Emily Morishita and Robbie Maki.
Mike Hawks, SEGD specializes in multi-family housing identity, wayfinding and branded interiors. Recent projects include Prometheus residential developments; Saltwood, Raleigh Slabtown and The Carson. His public work includes significant community resources, the Oregon Convention Center renovation and the Multnomah County Central Courthouse (all in Portland, OR). In 2012 he co-founded the SEGD Portland Chapter and currently co-organizes Mayer/Reed’s studio education gatherings and provides mentorship to emerging professionals. Mike earned a BFA in interior design from Marylhurst University.
Bryan Stevens, SEGD is currently managing the signage and wayfinding design for PDX Next throughout the Portland International Airport Main Terminal, Concourse B, Rental Car Facility and Transportation Center (Portland, OR). He leads complex public projects with a collaborative approach to facilitate consensus building and consistent decision making. In addition, Bryan is an outdoor enthusiast and thrilled that his past work includes inviting others to do the same through his work on the Travel Oregon Welcome Center (Ashland, OR) and the Travel Oregon office (Portland, OR). Bryan holds a BFA in visual design from the University of Oregon.
Emily Morishita, SEGD is the first Mayer/Reed employee to be based full-time in Seattle, WA. She joined Mayer/Reed as a senior experiential graphic designer and project manager and brings 15 years of experience with a focus on transportation related projects. Emily was previously with Hunt Design in Pasadena, CA. Her current work with Mayer/Reed includes SeaTac Building C-1 and the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility at the University of Washington (both in Seattle, WA). She earned an MFA in graphic design from the California Institute of the Arts.
Robbie Maki, SEGD joined Mayer/Reed as a senior project manager and experiential graphic designer. With a background in interpretive exhibits and wayside signage, she is skilled in communicating complex information to diverse audiences through accessible, educational design. Robbie is currently managing Mayer/Reed’s work for Fairbanks Hall at Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) and Jesuit High School (Beaverton, OR). Robbie holds a BFA in visual design from the University of Oregon.
This Wednesday, May 26th, Portland’s Morrison bridge will illuminate with joyful spring colors. In support of the Willamette Light Brigade, Mayer/Reed is sponsoring the bridge lighting to celebrate Northwest parks, open spaces, forest, trails and gardens in bloom. We invite you to catch the Wednesday night bridge glow and explore the outdoors to discover spring delights – rain or shine!