Portland’s Fountain Place Apartments Redevelopment Bracing for Steel

Contractor Lorentz Bruun Construction is starting the placement of 400,000 lbs of steel brace frame to complete seismic retrofit of century-old building 

Further relief is near for Portland’s tight affordable housing market as construction draws to a close on Home Forward’s renovation of Fountain Place, a 74-unit historic multifamily residence at SW Salmon and SW 10th Ave. in downtown Portland.  

The redevelopment, which began during the early days of the pandemic, is on track for completion later this fall thanks to the hard work of the core design-build team of Lorentz Bruun Construction, Peter Meijer Architect, structural engineer KPFF, Mechanical plumbing engineer GLUMAC and affordable housing design specialists Salazar Architect Inc.  

“We appreciate Lorentz Bruun Construction and Peter Meijer Architect for their work on this project; especially while we’ve all been living through an extremely stressful year,” says Home Forward’s Executive Director, Michael Buonocore. “We are looking forward to safely completing these important renovations that will ensure we continue to house some of Portland’s most vulnerable neighbors for generations to come.” 

Contractor Lorentz Bruun Construction this week is working on the placement of almost 400,000 pounds of steel brace frames within the six-story structure.  

“The steel brace frames are a major component of the seismic retrofit for Fountain Place and we will also add further stability to the building by using two layers of plywood flooring on each floor and at the roof to create a high load diaphragm to transfer lateral movements, such as shaking from earthquakes, from the floors to the shear walls of the building,” said Mark Bruun, president, Lorentz Bruun Construction.  

Built in 1911 by local millionaire and salmon cannery owner Frank M. Warren (who died the following year as a passenger on the Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage), Fountain Place is one of the earliest examples of high-end apartment construction in downtown Portland and was also one of the first ‘U’-shaped buildings to be built in the area. As part of the project, on March 4, 2020, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Fountain Place is also a predominantly wooden structure so the team had to use bolted rather than welded connections throughout to minimize the risk of fire during construction.  

A major part of extending the operational life of the existing building is the seismic upgrade which has been designed to afford structural safety to future occupants and extend the life cycle of the building for another 50+ years, according to the design team. Residents will also have a new egress stairwell, new kitchen cabinets, flooring and plumbing fixtures and a new fire alarm system is being installed. 

Halla Hoffer, associate principal, Peter Meijer Architect, said that retaining the historic character of the 100 year-old building while adding several future-proofed improvements was a major goal of the project. “This building is an important part of Portland’s architectural history and this renovation and seismic upgrade will carry the building’s heritage forward while providing its residents with new electrical and plumbing systems, a new elevator and a new community room,” she added. 

The Fountain Place renovation project was made possible with financing from Oregon Housing Community Services, Banner Bank and US Bank. 

About Home Forward 

Home Forward is the largest provider of affordable housing in the state of Oregon. The mission of Home Forward is to assure that the people of the community are sheltered. Home Forward has a special responsibility to those who encounter barriers to housing because of income, disability or special need. Home Forward will continue to promote, operate and develop affordable housing that engenders stability, self-sufficiency, self-respect, and pride in its residents and represents a long-term community asset. Home Forward will be a community leader to create public commitment, policy and funding to preserve and develop affordable housing. For more information, call (503) 802-8300 or visit www.homeforward.org

About Peter Meijer Architect 

Peter Meijer Architect, PC (PMA), exists to produce innovative restoration, preservation and material science solution in response to architecture and planning needs. Founded in 2003, they are committed to the reuse and adaptability of existing and historic built environments. From rehabilitation, renovation, documentation and material conservation, to seismic upgrades, PMA’s goal is to strengthen and enhance properties and sites that already exist. They recognize that each historic, recent past, and existing resource will have its own unique character defining features, either physically defined through the use of materials and construction techniques, or emotionally and culturally defined through community shared values. Learn more by visiting www.pmapdx.com 

About Lorentz Bruun
Lorentz Bruun brings the expertise, experience, and commitment necessary to effectively collaborate with the design team to achieve success for the property. Established in 1946, Lorentz Bruun Construction has maintained a reputation for building quality construction and lasting relationships in the market.  As a third-generation, family-owned, general contractor, we continue to exceed our clients’ expectations with our innovation, responsiveness, talented team members, and progressive attitude. We support the development needs of our clients by providing delivery methods such as design/build, general contracting and construction management.  Our goal is to provide clients with a predictable building solution that saves time and money. Learn more about Lorentz Bruun by visiting their website at www.bruunconstruction.com