PSU has partnered with local artist Mike Bennett to help bring visitors back to our downtown campus. PSU is the hub for downtown Portland, and while our students, staff, and faculty are participating in classes remotely, our campus remains accessible for visitors. Each character on the PSU Toon Tour is connected to Portland, Oregon, and Portland State and has more information to share about the building in which they’re located.
When you visit campus:
- Wear a Mask
- Practice physical distancing (ensure at least 6 feet of space between people)
- Share your photos with us: #psutoontour and be sure to tag @portlandstate, @go2psu, and @mikebennettart
Interested in Portland State? Request more information.
University Welcome Center
We’re so glad you’ve taken the time to visit us. The Welcome Center is usually where we’d welcome our visitors, but since our campus is closed, we're excited to welcome you from afar.
The Welcome Center is situated in the hub of downtown Portland, Oregon, where every type of transportation option converges. This friendly Trimet Max train is one of the many ways to get around the City of Roses. You can also hop on the Portland Streetcar (LOOK BEHIND YOU, IT MIGHT BE PASSING RIGHT NOW!). The Streetcar is free for all PSU students and takes riders from PSU to the Moda Center (to go see the Portland Trail Blazers play), to NW 23rd (to go shopping), to Powell’s City of Books (to smell — or maybe buy — old books), and many more places. You could also hop on a BIKETOWN ebike (also free for PSU students), and go just about anywhere. For those who don’t live on campus, Trimet buses and Max stops are on every corner, ready to take students home.
The Urban Plaza, right behind you, is a great place to unwind, get some lunch, and people-watch as students make their way to and from class. Before you head off to your next stop, pop into the PSU Bookstore so you can leave campus with some PSU gear and smell the sweet aroma of textbooks and school supplies to get you in the mood for all the studying you’ll do here. Be sure to check out their hours online.
Academic and Student Recreation Center (ASRC)
The elusive sasquatch, a.k.a Bigfoot, is thought to be wandering in the Pacific Northwest wilderness. Cryptozoologists say that nearly ⅓ of reported sightings of Bigfoot were within hours of the Portland State campus. Turns out, Bigfoot likes to go hard in the paint. Which is why he’s in PSU’s Campus Rec Center. Does he look lonely to you? He is. That’s what social distancing and avoiding capture for centuries can do to a squatch.
The ASRC is also home to the Outdoor Program, School of Social Work, Office of Admissions, and the Bike Hub.
PSU’s School of Social Work is Oregon’s #1 social work program and ranked among the top 20% of social work programs in the nation.
After you get your PSU gear, wander back to the Urban Plaza, face north and gaze up at the College of Urban and Public affairs. Inside you’ll see another Pacific Northwest wilderness icon, a Douglas fir. Douglas firs thrive in the Willamette Valley climate because the soil is fertile and they like the seasonal rain. Douglas firs are the most abundant tree in the United States, with most of the density being right here in the Portland area.
Douglas firs can live to be 1,000 years old, which is about the same age as our College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA). Okay, maybe not that old, but CUPA is among the oldest colleges of its kind in the country. CUPA’s programs prepare students to be effective leaders, collaborators, and problem-solvers and houses two schools -- the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government and the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning -- and six academic units: Criminology & Criminal Justice, Economics, International & Global Studies, Political Science, Public Administration, and Urban Studies & Planning.
The Urban Center Building also has its own library, study space, conference rooms and event space (including a gallery and covered rooftop patio).
The Vanport Building is home to PSU's College of Education, the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, Portland Community College's dental programs, and the City of Portland's Bureau of Planning & Sustainability.
This new building houses a dental clinic, classrooms, academic offices, and other office space. It's built to operate at LEED Platinum status with high energy efficiency, and features an eco roof, solar panels, and stormwater planters. And, there is a cozy courtyard in the center of the building.
Portland is known for a lot of things and one of those things is the rain. It rains here. Every day. For months. But don’t be grumpy like this umbrella. The rain keeps our plants green, and there’s plenty to do around here even in the rainy season. Most people in Portland don’t carry umbrellas, so if you want to blend in, get yourself a good raincoat. And if you need a cozy spot indoors, make your way through the gorgeous interior of Lincoln Hall where you’ll be greeted with art installations and the sound of music—everything from choirs to jazz bands.
The College of the Arts (COTA) is located in Lincoln Hall and houses the School of Music + Theater and the School of Film. Lincoln has multiple performance and practice spaces, including a nearly 500-seat auditorium that features concerts, performances and lectures.
Fun fact: The practice rooms on the ground floor, adjacent to the elevators are where the harpists practice because the harps are too large to bring to higher levels.
Every single Saturday of the year, you can come to the PSU Park Blocks and find the Portland Farmers Market. Get your veggies, eat your lunch, buy some flowers, and spend quality time outside, 6 feet apart. Portland Farmers Market operates five markets across the city that provide a direct connection to more than 200 vendors with deep roots in Oregon and Southwest Washington, including farms, nurseries, bakeries, meat and seafood providers, cheese makers and specialty food producers.
These veggies are hanging out in Cramer Hall, home to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (our largest college with 24 academic units and disciplines), University Studies (PSU's nationally-recognized general education program), Writing Center (a tutoring resource for students who wish to improve their academic writing), and lots and lots of classrooms and study spaces.
Smith Memorial Student Union
Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest with more than 2 million people stopping by each year to take in the views. It’s only 20 miles east of downtown Portland, but we thought we’d bring it to you. And now that you’re here, you get to see Smith Memorial Student Union, the most-visited building on campus.
Smith is where you’ll find most of the activities and services PSU offers to enhance your academic experience. You may have heard that Portland is a food city. PSU students get privileged access to some of the famous spots visitors to the area stand in line for: Peet’s Coffee, Salt & Straw Ice Cream and Bowery Bagels. They’re all here.
Smith has more than just food; the building is complete with art galleries, a bowling alley, The Vanguard offices (PSU's student newspaper), an intimate concert venue, a quiet study area, and student resources to explore.
Smith is also home to many of our resource centers and student services:
- Cultural Resource Centers
- Disability Resource Center
- Diversity and Multicultural Student Services (DMSS)
- Queer Resource Center
- Resource Center for Students with Children
- Student Activities & Leadership Programs (SALP)
- Student Legal Services
- TRIO Student Support Services
- Veterans Resource Center
- Women’s Resource Center
Science Research & Teaching Center
This may come as a surprise, but dinosaurs are just as interested in biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics as humans are. This little dino is so excited that he came back from extinction to hang out in the Science Research and Teaching Center (SRTC) and keep on eye on the work PSU students and faculty are doing. The first evidence of dinosaurs in Oregon was only discovered a couple of years ago. PSU faculty do more than research extinct species. Debora Duffield, a PSU biology professor, is the head of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network which works to save marine life from being stranded in Oregon. Marine mammals that come on shore and are unable to return to the water are brought to this building and studied by PSU professors and students.
Complete with state-of-the-art labs, the SRTC houses many of PSU's scientific departments, lecture halls, teaching labs, research centers, and PSU's Museums of Vertebrate and Invertebrate Biology. The building is also home to the Rae Selling Berry Seed Bank, which collects and preserves plant species native to our beautiful Pacific Northwest. Students have the opportunity to volunteer and work with the program, integrating the world of botany into their studies.
Stephen Epler Hall
On a sunny day, Mt. Hood can be seen from hundreds of miles away. Mt. Hood is 11,249 ft in elevation, not even close to the tallest mountain in the United States, but it’s really known for its 7700 ft of prominence (the height of a mountain’s summit relative to the lowest contour line encircling it) which is why it’s visible from so far away. Mt. Hood is a volcano located in the Cascade Mountain range, along the Pacific Ocean’s ring of fire, and is considered by some to be the most likely volcano to erupt in the range (although experts say the likelihood of eruption is low). Portland State’s Outdoor Program organizes regular trips to explore the Cascade wilderness including ski trips to Mt. Hood Meadows ski area. If you like hiking, there are thousands of trails within driving distance of Portland State, and for a longer trek, the Pacific Crest Trail wanders across the west side of Mt. Hood.
Our Mt. Hood is located in Stephen Epler Hall, one of PSU’s nine residence halls. It houses University Honors College students, Honors College classrooms, and the Honors Commons. PSU’s Honors College, the only urban-focused honors college in the country, boasts a small, dedicated community of highly motivated students and engaged professors who explore an academically intense curriculum through the lens of the culturally rich, ever-evolving city of Portland.
Interested in learning more about Honors?
Simon Benson House
One of Portland’s many nicknames is the City of Roses. Apparently, the nickname has something to do with a wedding gift — and we have certainly embraced it. Just a few walkable and bikeable miles from the PSU campus, is the International Rose Test Garden where there are more than 500 varieties of roses. Portland’s temperate climate allows roses to bloom nearly year round, and spring is the best time to stop by and smell them.
This rose lives inside the Simon Benson House alongside our Alumni Association. The Simon Benson House was actually moved to its current location along the Park Blocks and restored to its current glory more than a decade ago.
Branford P. Millar Library
PSU’s Branford P. Millar Library is one of the few buildings that has remained open during the pandemic. At the library you can find a lot more than books.
Housing tens of thousands of books and research resources, the Millar Library is a focal point of campus. With multiple computer labs, quiet group study rooms, presentation rooms, a tutoring center, laptop and calculator rentals, and a cafe. The library has everything students need to hit the books and study effectively.
It’s a popular study spot and a great place to cozy up with a textbook on a rainy day.
This little beaver is feeling optimistic about the future. The beaver is Oregon's state animal and happens to be the mascot for another university down the road. Beavers are North America's largest rodent and are an important part of the PNW ecosystem. According to Oregon Wild, beavers do more to shape the land than any animal other than humans. Beaver habitats even help create habitats for other species, like juvenile coho salmon.
Just as beavers help support our ecosystem, PSU offers many services to help students. The Learning Center, located on the second floor of the library, offers tutoring in various subjects to all students. In addition to helping you with your course work, Learning Center staff can assist in helping you develop successful learning strategies. You can also sign up to be a tutor. All services are free to PSU students.
Another bonus: students can also study in view of the large copper beech tree at the library's entrance, a Portland heritage tree. It is so beloved on campus that the architecture of the building was changed to accommodate it.
Victor E. Viking, our esteemed Viking mascot, stands watch at Viking Pavilion as we await the day we can gather together and celebrate our teams once again. PSU is a Division I school and a member of the Big Sky Conference with competitive teams in 15 sports: in men's football, women's softball, women's volleyball, women's soccer, and both gendered teams in basketball, tennis, track/cross country and golf.
In 2018, a $52.1 million renovation and expansion of the building was completed which replaced a portion of the old building, and rebuilt the eastern half of the original structure. The new façade faces the Park Blocks and resembles a viking ship (the student section is affectionately called The Ship) and now seats 3,000. The new building also includes an additional 15,000 square feet for studying, tutoring, and advising.
This happy little hop is a symbol for one of Portland and Oregon’s largest industries, craft brewing. Portland State University even offers a certificate in the Business of Craft Brewing. Oregon is the third-largest hop producing state in the U.S. (after Washington and Idaho). The hop-growing region of Oregon is right here in the Willamette Valley, which has a unique climate that is particularly good for growing hops and grapes for wine.
This hop lives in Shattuck hall, originally built in 1917 as an elementary school. One of oldest and most distinct buildings on campus, Shattuck Hall was designed by Floyd Naramore, a prolific architect in Portland's early history. It's no coincidence that the building now houses PSU's burgeoning School of Architecture. A remodel in 2008, turned the building itself into an architecture and design teaching tool by exposing everything from wiring and plumbing systems to the original plank-formed poured-in-place concrete structure. These additions made this building LEED Gold certified. The renovation even kept the original elementary school's old dance floor in place under the carpet in one of the lecture halls.
Fariborz Maseeh Hall
Fariborz Maseeh Hall (FMH) is one of Portland State’s most important buildings, and is a symbol of our service to students. Standing central to our 50-acre campus, it houses vital student services: registration, financial aid, student financial services, academic advising, the technology help desk, and career services. FMH also has classrooms and laboratories serving numerous arts and sciences programs, including the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics, a computer laboratory and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
It is also home to PSU’s Transfer and Returning Student Resource Center. Portland State University welcomes more transfer students than any other university in Oregon and we’re ranked Oregon’s best school for transfer students by study.com.
The brachiosaurus stationed here looks out for students and is a reminder of their potential. These dinosaurs were one of the largest to walk the Earth more than 100 million years ago, yet much is still unknown about them. If you’re interested in paleontology, then check out our Geology program.
Native American Student and Community Center
Opened in 2003, the Native American Student & Community Center is the only one of its kind in the Portland metropolitan region, which is home to 20,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives. NASCC's mission is to provide a location where Native American, Alaskan Native and Pacific Islander students connect to other students, faculty, staff and community members in an inclusive and supportive environment. The Center also welcomes the greater Native Community to PSU's campus, providing opportunities for shared learning and understanding. An aerial view of the NASCC reveals a salmon-shaped design of the building, which echoes the importance of nature within native culture.
Coho salmon make up about 10% of the commercially fished salmon. After coho salmon hatch they spend up to two years in freshwater, before heading to the ocean. Most coho travel no more than 100 miles from the mouth of their stream for reproduction but some populations travel over a thousand miles. There are seven pacific salmon species and they are a critical part of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem. Salmon populations have declined over the years due to human encroachment into and destruction of their habitat, poor water quality, and impassable waterways. The city of Portland is working hard to support salmon populations and progress is being made.
Broadway Residence Hall
This newt is a rough-skinned newt, a type of salamander that typically doesn’t grow bigger than 20 centimeters. This type of newt has a powerful neurological poison in its skin and eggs that protects them from predators. It’s released from their glands when they’re disturbed. So, don’t touch them! This newt is native to Oregon and is one of many salamander species that can be found in the moist habitats and bodies of water in western Oregon.
Broadway Residence Hall is an eleven-story student residence hall. There are classrooms and a computer lab located on the second floor and retail space dominates the ground floor. The housing portion of the building consists of 382 furnished studio apartments with a kitchenette and bath. Completed in 2004, the building has LEED Silver certification for its environmentally friendly features, including an 18,000 square foot ecoroof, a climate responsive design to reduce reliance on energy consumptive mechanical and electrical systems, low flow water fixtures, high performance window glass, and less toxic room finishes. The Broadway received a 2005 BEST Award for Stormwater Management.
PSU’s residence halls give students the opportunity to live affordably in the middle of one of the top five best cities to go to college.
Ondine Residence Hall
The Ondine Residence Hall is a 15-story high-rise comprising 190 furnished suite-style units. Some have a shared kitchen and bath, while others are furnished double-occupancy studio rooms with a private bath. The studios are part of the First Year Experience program. Upperclassmen and transfer students are eligible for the suite-units. This building has it all; spectacular views of Mt. Hood and downtown Portland, laundry facilities, cable and telephone-ready rooms, a television lounge, parking (for an extra fee), and Victor’s—a unique, all-you-care-to-eat style dining experience featuring a rotating menu as well as nightly dinner specials. This urban restaurant—the University's dining hall—offers fresh, local ingredients and home-style favorites as well as vegetarian and vegan options.
Located on the second floor of Ondine are classrooms and study spaces, as well as the University Success Office.
Portland is one of the most bikeable cities in the country. With miles and miles of bike paths and thousands of bike-commuters, you'll feel right at home. PSU students also enjoy free access to BIKETOWN, Portland's shared bike system.
5th Avenue Cinema
The Willamette Valley is a unique agricultural zone, and perfect for a number of agricultural products (like hops and grapes for wine), it is also the best spot in the world for growing hazelnuts (aka filberts). Nearly 100% of the hazelnuts from the United States are grown just a few miles from Portland State. And in Oregon, we call them filberts.
Portland has become known for its role in the film and television industry. Portlandia helped highlight the perceived weirdness of Portland and drew more and more companies to film their shows and movies here. Our film program is one of the fastest growing majors at PSU. Students get real-world experience, work on sets and in theaters like the student-run 5th Avenue Cinema. 5th Avenue Cinema shows films from a variety of genres. It's free for students and there's free popcorn for every showing.
Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC)
Residents of Portland have unfettered access to some of the best outdoor activities the world has to offer. Skiing, mountain biking, hiking, swimming, boating. Oregon is also home to one of the best places in the world to windsurf and kite surf. 60 miles east of Portland along the Columbia River Gorge is a wind tunnel that creates the perfect environment for wind- and kite-surfing.
Our little windsurfer is located inside the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC). SHAC is committed to helping students succeed inside and out of the classroom. From managing stress to general wellness, we focus on the overall well-being of Portland State’s student body. At SHAC our students can find high quality, accessible mental health, physical health and dental services — all under one roof.
SHAC is also an approved vaccination site. We are returning to in-person classes in fall 2021 with comprehensive safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines have given us all reason to be optimistic about controlling the pandemic. We will continue to work with our public health partners and follow their guidance on mask-wearing and physical distancing to make our campus as safe as possible.
Portland State's location in the middle of the city also makes it a great place for people who love or who want to learn more about the outdoors. There are thousands of miles of hiking trails to dirty your boots, and some are even walking distance from campus. We're situated just 90 minutes from Mt. Hood and the Oregon Coast, giving you easy access to some of the world's most beautiful wilderness.
PSU's Outdoor Program (ODP) is here to help you explore that wilderness with guided trips and equipment! The ODP provides a wide variety of opportunities including guided outdoor trips, workshops and certification courses, outdoor rental gear at affordable rates, and an indoor Climbing Center. All skill and experience levels are welcome. Whether you are looking to embark on an adventure or learn a new outdoor skill, join the ODP in exploring the wild side of Oregon.
Karl Miller Center
Portland is famous for many things, none as delicious as donuts. Portland State is lucky to have one of the best donuts shops in town, Coco Donuts, right in the middle of campus. It's a popular study spot, and a great place to get a pick-me-up at the end of the day. Take advantage of their happy hour special: a donut and small coffee for just $2 dollars.
An architecturally-beautiful and innovative building, the Karl Miller Center (KMC), completed in Fall 2017, houses the School of Business and the Office of International Affairs (which includes the Education Abroad program as well as the Center for Middle East Studies and the Institute for Asian Studies) as well as multi-use classrooms and lecture spaces.
The lofty, open design promotes natural light and the interior design is leading-edge and contemporary with plenty of study space and an amphitheater-style auditorium. All floors are visible through the large central atrium and art installations hang from the ceiling and walls. A restaurant space on the ground level provides students a place to relax and unwind after a long day of classes. The building was awarded LEED Platinum status for outstanding sustainability and design.
Portland is famously know for its weirdness, and there's no better ambassador for this reputation than Brian Kidd — that unicycling, bagpipe-playing, costume-wearing man known as the “Unipiper.” He is featured at the Karl Miller Center, and he actually brought his doppelgänger to this spot himself. Bagpipes and flames and all. We featured the Unipiper in our Visitor Guide and on our blog last year because he's such a great representation of the creativity of Portland. He started Weird Portland United, a non-profit dedicated to promoting and supporting creatives.
Weird Portland United hosts a monthly lecture and networking series and free community events around various PDX locales. The non-profit will be provides Weird Community Betterment Grants for people who need a bit of money to make their creative ideas come to life. As an example, Kidd says the grant could go to purchasing billboard space for strictly weird use. For more information follow the Unipiper and Weird Portland United on Instagram.
One of Portland's many nicknames is "Bridgetown" for the twelve bridges that cross the Willamette River. This bridge is the Steel Bridge, a through truss, double-deck vertical-lift bridge. The top level serves light rail and car traffic and the bottom level is for railroad, bike, and foot traffic.
It's a symbol of the excellent engineering that surrounds Portland State University, and inspiration for our many Engineering and Computer Science students. This bridge is located inside the Engineering Building which houses the Fariborz Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. If you're interested in studying Engineering, learn more about our excellent programs.
Portland State University students have unprecedented access to the International Space Station (ISS). Our students send their research to space and speak with astronauts.
PSU is home to the world's most accessible and used high rate micro-gravity drop tower and we have one of only two high-capacity/speed emulators for System on Chip design at U.S. universities.
Mike Bennett is an illustrator, woodworker and “public joy creator” residing in Portland, Oregon. Raised in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania Mike has always had an active imagination and credits his inner child for inspiring his many pieces of artwork. Mike graduated from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and focused on illustration, computer design and art education. Mike took his art career to Portland in 2016 and hasn’t stopped producing work since! Mike has made his name in the PDX art scene by hosting countless scavenger hunts, creating over 3000 cutouts and raising nearly $75,000 for charity organizations in his community. Bennett has spent a majority of his pandemic year creating massive educational art displays in front of his home and surrounding areas for his neighbors to enjoy on their daily walks; every day there’s a new surprise to be found from dinosaurs, to bugs, planets, monsters and even a whole alphabet of animals! Keep an eye out on Mike’s social media for what surprises he has in store next at @MikeBennettArt or www.atozoopdx.com!
Come for Change Ready to Join the Movement?
We recognize that what we now call Portland and Multnomah County are the traditional lands of the Kathlamet, Clackamas, Tumwater, Watlala and Multnomah bands of the Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla and many other Indigenous Nations of the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Today peoples from these bands have become part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz, as well as the Chinook and Cowlitz Nations. It is important to acknowledge the ancestors of this place and to recognize that we are here because of the sacrifices forced upon them. In remembering these communities, we honor their legacy, their lives, and their descendants.