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Monty Hill

Residential living in the urban center is the inverse of business development in the 'sub' urban areas. Both help to create a rich more vibrant experience. Read some of the recent articles about LA in Architectural Record, where many interviewed support the idea of multiple centers within a metropolis.

Adi dassler's Headquarters is in Germany. Portland houses the U.S. headquarters.

The Old Bess Kaiser hospital is surrounded by single family homes, which relative to any major city in the world certainly qualifies as 'sub'-urban. The medium density housing which surrounds the Nike campus housRes more people per acre than that of NE Portland. Myself and many of my co-workers have worked right in the heart of downtown Portland for years have never even seen this Adi Das U.S. headquarters.

The berm around Nike was originally taken from where the Nike lake is, part of an effort to preserve the wetlands. This earth, rather than being shipped off was used to screen the parking from the surrounding area, which at Nike's inception was more of a natural environment with many trees and vegetation.


brian - you might want to talk to the laika folks, i understand that they're already in-process on planning for future buildings.

monty - it's a bit disingenuous to call the massive berm surrounding the entire campus a 'screen' for parking. that's like calling the great wall of china a fence. how many sq. yards of material did it take to make that berm? how much water is in the lake? i would venture that the numbers are not even close. the nike campus is a bubble that completely isolates its inhabitants from the outside world, and that wasn't an accident.

Brian Libby

I think Monty has a point. I've heard that argument from Nike before, and I don't think this is a black-and-white issue. I personally think Nike seems pretty damn isolated from its surrounding environment, but I think the architecture is very impressive. I don't think the berm was necessarily meant to act like the barrier it does, and I admit surface parking lots are quite an eyesore. The bottom line with the post, however, was to say that I would love to see a company with Knight's resources behind it build something closer to the center of the Portland area - namely, Portland.


"I personally think Nike seems pretty damn isolated from its surrounding environment"

For those that don't get out of their cars in the area (and why would you) that would be a correct assumption. With two major roads, wetlands and forests surrounding Nike's campus, it can seem isolated; however it does interact with the surrounding environment quite well.

I used to live up the street from Nike and would take walks daily through the Tualatin Hills Rec Center Park and follow the path right around the backside of the campus. Not only does Nike have an incredible path that surrounds the campus, they have several trail like walkways curving through the campus.

Not one time did someone come up to me while I was walking through the campus and tell me to leave their property. Quite contrary, most people gave a friendly smile and some even stopped to talk while I was resting. The entire campus, IMO, feels like one big park with some awesome architecture in the middle, connecting the 158th Nature Park to the Walker Road Tualatin Hills Rec Complex.

I find the architecture on Nike's campus nothing less than world class, and I could only imagine if Phil Knight would bring some of that innovative thinking, when it comes to architecture, into a Portland neighborhood. Since Knights alma mater UofO is moving to old town, possibly MercyCorps too, maybe the PDC can get Laika down there too. I would love to see innovative new buildings built next to turn of the 20th century buildings helping anchor Old Town.

Marc Labadie

Sorry, Mike, but a quick calculation of the volume of the 6-acre lake at an average depth of at least 5' comes pretty close to matching the cubic yardage of fill for 3500' of 12' high berm, without taking into account excavated material from the building & parking pads. Monty is right; as I recall the primary goal was to eliminate any off-haul of material.

Nick Hemmer

As for Laika, or corporate campuses in general, I think we could draw an analogy to collegiate campuses. If we were to compare the University of Oregon campus in Eugene with that of Portland State, we would find vast differences in the planning of each respective campus (which is not to say there are no similarities). Each strategy of campus planning has its pros and cons and we could debate over which is better and who each campus benefits the most; but what it comes down to is taste and preference. Both campuses are beautiful, function well and are great places to be educated, however whether a student chooses one over the other depends on personal conviction (and whether they like rooting for a winning football team). I’ve never heard anyone complain that the U of O doesn’t contribute to the fabric of downtown Eugene.

As for corporate campuses, they benefit their communities in any number of ways; whether it is contributing to the urban fabric and density in the city or creating jobs, infrastructure and tax revenue in a growing suburb.

The bottom line is that Phil Knight has his convictions (oh and the $$$...oh and he went to U of O) and I’m sure that where ever he decides to put Laika, it will be an asset to that community.

As for Nike turning its back on the community, I would go no further than Hillsboro where we can see some arguably okay corporate buildings springing up in the middle of acres of flat grassy fields; which makes me want to praise the Nike berm, which is absolutely a better contextual response to its surrounding natural environment.


my bad on the lake - it was my understanding that it was less than 2' deep throughout.

regardless, the berm remains a very significant visual barrier into what is arguably one of oregon's most beautifull campuses. it tells those on the outside that they are very much not welcome. and i stand by the argument that that is its intent. given the square foot costs on the architecture and landscape i find it hard to believe that it was too costly to move the excavated soil off-site. if phil knight wanted an open and inviting campus he would have gotten that, if he wanted privacy and exclusiveness he would have done what we see today.


I always felt like the Nike Campus is what the world would have looked like if the Nazi's had won. Its a bizarre, clean, cold place with lots of athletic and well dressed people wandering around the flag lined streets. The architecture along the cobblestone area is fantastic in a one color one style type of way. Its a strange otherworldy place.

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