Multnomah County Central Courthouse


The 17-story Multnomah County Central Couthouse in Portland spans 464,700 square feet and replaces the old and outdated eight-story courthouse that had become too small for the county’s 800,000 residents.

The new courthouse project focused on three main goals:

  • Improving public experience
  • Expanding safety and security
  • Bringing the building’s seismic resistance up-to-code

The new courthouse is much better equipped to survive a big earthquake of the magnitude expected from the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the next 50 years.

CGL’s design solutions for this constrained site features its location at the gateway to downtown Portland. With one quarter of the project site occupied by the former Jefferson Station - a National Register former power station - the solution is a tower that fully integrates the low rise historic structure.

The slender “L” shape of the tower places the courtrooms and public areas on the river side with magnificent views of Mt. Hood and the Williamette River. The new high performance sustainable riverfront courthouse is full of daylight and welcoming to those who come there seeking justice.