From locally made foods to new treatments for cancer, Oregon State University fuels innovation and creativity in Portland. In partnerships with Portland businesses and organizations, Oregon State scientists, engineers and artists are building the region’s economy and contributing to Portland’s well-earned reputation for creativity, resilience and sustainability.

Preparing for the Big One — College of Engineering

Through Oregon State’s Cascadia Lifelines program, researchers in the College of Engineering are evaluating the impact of the next Cascadia earthquake on access to the region’s hospitals. The project evaluates changes to bridges and roads affecting routes serving these critical care facilities. Among partners in Cascadia Lifelines are the Port of Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Portland Water Bureau and the Bonneville Power Administration.

The manufacturing economy — College of Engineering

Through the Oregon Metals Innovation Center in Scapoose, Oregon State researchers work with companies such as Daimler Trucks North America, Blount International and PCC Structurals to develop new products and explore improvements to manufacturing processes. Researchers test changes to production processes and the ability of innovative devices to meet consumers’ needs for function and safety.

Farm to table — The Food Innovation Center

Consider some of Oregon’s homegrown food innovations: Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches, Kombucha Wonder Drink and Chez Marie veggie patties. All of these local favorites and many others were tested and refined through Portland’s Food Innovation Center, a partnership between Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Food entrepreneurs bring their innovative ideas for new products to the center’s testing kitchens and product development labs.

Craft brewing — College of Agricultural Sciences

Researchers in Oregon State’s Fermentation Science Lab train local brewers in sensory testing and advise companies on product development. Companies such as Widmer Bros. in Portland come to the lab for expert advice and access to facilities that allow them to create new products for the rapidly growing craft beer market.

Stress and infant health — College of Public Health and Human Sciences

Portland is well known for its beautiful parks and proximity to mountains and forests. Researchers in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences are exploring how these green spaces and the built environment affect human stress. They are also testing the use of Google Street View imagery in Portland for exploring the connection between air quality, toxic chemicals and birth outcomes.

Other public health scientists are working with the Northwest Mother’s Milk Bank in Portland on alternative methods for protecting the safety of donor breast milk. In collaboration with Oregon Health & Science University, they are collecting digestive samples from infants to evaluate indicators of health.

Inspired by science — College of Education

In Portland’s Parkrose neighborhood, educators are working with middle and high school age youth to create opportunities in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. The College of Education collaborates with libraries, museums, afterschool providers and schools on reversing the declining participation of underrepresented youth in STEM.

Cultural diversity and the arts — College of Liberal Arts

Portland has long been a gathering place for people from many countries and cultures, and Oregon State makes multiple contributions to the local arts scene. Examples include:

  • An upcoming book, “A People's Guide to Portland and Beyond,” highlights lesser-known sites of social justice and oppression across the city. An Oregon State historian is creating a public history project on civil rights activism in Portland.
  • Oregon State artists display their work at Portland galleries such as the Upfor Gallery and the Portland Art Museum.
  • Oregon State film studies faculty collaborate with Cinema 21 to host special screenings, discussions and courses.
  • The Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, awarded by Oregon State’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, partners with multiple Portland organizations for events with the honoree, including the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Pubic Broadcasting (OPB), Powell’s Books, First Congregational Church, Literary Arts and Jefferson High School.

Medical advances — Colleges of Pharmacy, Science and Veterinary Medicine

Working with the Oregon Health & Science University and the Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon State researchers are developing new approaches to cancer detection and treatment. In the Collaborative Life Sciences Building on the South Waterfront, scientists are using light to illuminate cancer cells and exploring the ability of natural compounds to kill them. Scientists in the College of Pharmacy are key partners in the Oregon Translational Research & Development Institute, which maintains a riverfront laboratory in the city.

Students in the College of Pharmacy Pharm.D. program spend the third year of their program at OHSU, with coursework covering a wide range of pharmacy practice. In their fourth year, students complete multiple professional rotations in pharmacy practice across the Portland region and beyond.

Fourth-year students in the College of Veterinary Medicine complete a three-week rotation at the Oregon Humane Society (OHS) in Portland. Supervised by OHS/OSU veterinarians, students perform about 65 surgeries, help diagnose cases, observe behavior assessments and work with OHS foster parents who are caring for ill pets.