Rockwood Rising ascends as construction begins on Gresham's largest urban renewal project

May 14, 2019

Construction began Monday, May 13 on Rockwood Rising, a transformative urban renewal development that, when complete, will provide job training, entrepreneurship opportunities, housing, a public market, and a central plaza for festivals and events.

“Rockwood Rising is more than just a few new buildings joining our cityscape. It’s the idea that a community can come together and make something special happen for the benefit of everyone. It’s the result of thoughtful community engagement and dedicated community partners who will help create economic empowerment for residents of Rockwood. I can’t wait to see children playing on the plaza, neighbors connecting over healthy and diverse food choices, and local businesses thriving,” said Josh Fuhrer, Executive Director of the Gresham Redevelopment Commission.

Located in the heart of Gresham’s Rockwood neighborhood, steps away from the MAX light rail, the 5.5-acre vacant site was purchased by the Gresham Development Commission in 2005 with funds from Gresham’s urban renewal district. The City spent three years from 2014-2016 soliciting thoughtful ideas and feedback from residents in this neighborhood, which is one of the youngest and most diverse in the region.

Those community conversations directly informed the project design as well as the services and amenities that will be offered. When construction is complete, the site will house four buildings and a community plaza, as follows:

  1. Innovation hub: Classes in digital literacy and coding, assistance finding and applying for jobs and small business support services.
  2. Apprenticeship hub: Construction and manufacturing apprenticeship programs.
  3. Mixed-use village: More than 100 new mixed-income workforce housing units (including affordable units), locally owned small businesses, child care, community bank and employment services.
  4. Market hall: International grocery marketplace, public commissary kitchen for food entrepreneurs, as well as small business and pop-up stand opportunities.
  5. Community plaza: Three new play structures, public splash pad, and gathering space for concerts, farmers’ markets and cultural celebrations.

Anchor tenants include MetroEast Community Media, WorkSource Oregon, Oregon Tradeswomen, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC), Mt. Hood Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO). Tenant opportunities are still available for emerging and established businesses, specialized grocery stores, local small businesses and pop-up shops. Visit rockwoodrising.com for details.

RKm Development will develop the project. LMC Construction began work on Monday, May 13, starting with the innovation hub and renovation of the existing Rockwood Community Office to serve as an apprenticeship center. Construction is estimated to finish in 2021.

“Opportunities as transformative as Rockwood Rising don’t come along very often,” said Roy Kim, owner, RKm Development. “I’m excited to create opportunities for this neighborhood and to shape the story of this evolving, active and vibrant part of Gresham.”

Groundbreaking events

The Gresham Redevelopment Commission and MetroEast Community Media will host a groundbreaking celebration on June 12 from 3-5 p.m. at the corner of E. Burnside St. and SE 187th Ave. Mayor Shane Bemis and other key partners will briefly speak at 3 p.m., followed by a ceremonial shovel turn. A celebration will be held from 4-5 p.m. at the MetroEast DIY Studio across the street at 484 SE 187th Ave.

Media are welcome. Additional site renderings available upon request.