Bud Clark Commons

Your Guide
Rachel Hill, ASLA

As you descend off the Broadway Bridge into downtown, you’ll see signs of the many beneficial social services Portland provides the homeless. People in lines wrap around buildings, sit in groups with their dogs, and hang out or sleep in sidewalk alcoves, waiting for services.

There's one facility that offers “off the street” options for the homeless: Bud Clark Commons, an eight-story, 106,000 square-foot building, and a joint venture between Home Forward, the city's housing authority, and Transition Projects Inc., a non-profit. It was designed by Holst Architecture and landscape architecture firm Mayer/Reed. The project is a cornerstone project of Portland’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. Ultimately, the goal of the Commons is to transition people into stable and permanent living situations.

The Commons provides an operational model and design that accommodates various degrees of need. It gives people a quiet place off the main street to wait for day services such as laundry, meals, and counseling. There is also short-term shelter and small studio apartments for the most vulnerable.

The Commons doesn’t hide its function. The architecture, outdoor spaces, and its discreet access weave the Commons into the diverse neighborhoods that surround it, including the redeveloped Pearl District, Chinatown, and the downtown business district. Instead of ghettoizing the homeless, the Commons participates as a neighbor in its diverse urban setting.

Please note: It's important to give those who use or live at the Commons the space and respect they deserve. For this reason, please view the site from the north entrance gate or quietly observe the entry courtyard. Please do not take photographs. 

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