Oregon Convention Center Goes Green

The first convention center in the nation to achieve recertification at a higher level

Oregon Convention Center // (c) 2008
Oregon Convention Center (OCC)

This October, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC) was recertified by the U.S. Green Building Council as LEED-EB Silver, making it the first convention center in the nation to achieve recertification at a higher level. In 2004, following a major expansion of the OCC, the center was rated LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Existing Buildings category). To earn the points required for Silver certification, the OCC partnered with Portland-based Green Building Services. Areas of focus in the process included the installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures, adjustments to HVAC systems and the purchase of renewable wind power, which now accounts for 40 percent of the electricity used by the facility.


With more than 500,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, the OCC is the largest convention facility in the Pacific Northwest.

Among the most beautiful of the building’s existing sustainability features is the Rain Garden, a series of landscaped ponds through which all rainwater draining from the OCC’s five-acre roof flows, before reaching the nearby Willamette River. As the water moves through the rocks and native plants adorning the ponds, it is filtered of pollutants.


The OCC is managed by the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission (MERC), a division of Metro, the Portland area’s elected regional government. Metro oversees regional recycling and sustainability efforts, as well as managing the area’s Urban Growth Boundary and several regional performance and event venues.