A $120 million ''science park'' next to the Oregon Graduate Center here is being planted as a seed for Oregon's growth toward high technology and away from the state's historic dependence on the timber products industry.
High interest rates and the consequent collapse of the home building industry in the United States have seriously harmed Oregon's timber companies. As a consequence, almost 30,000 jobs have been lost, analysts reckon.
The Oregon Graduate Center, founded in 1963, offers PhD and MS degrees in five programs. The center is an independent educational and research organization with a research program about equally balanced between industrially and federally financed programs. It is considered a scientific and technological resource for Oregon and the Northwest in research and postgraduate education in physical sciences and engineering, and a bridge to industry, not only in the Northwest but throughout the nation.
Announcing plans for the 160-acre park, F. Paul Carlson, the Graduate Center president, said the park would strengthen ''the partnership (of) science education, applied research, and the (electronics) business community.''
More than 20 years ago, the late Wayne L. Morse, then a US senator from Oregon, found that ''diversity (is) one of our greatest needs'' because of the great reliance on forestry for jobs and payrolls.
With the start of initial construction expected to begin before the year, the project could ultimately create as many as 4,000 new jobs directly connected with the science park, it is estimated.
What the Graduate Center has done is to lease its acreage tw Rembold Corporation, of Portland, a diverse real estate developer with interests in Seattle; Chicago; and Phoenix, Ariz.; as well as Portland.
Over a span of six to 10 years, a development schedule will be financed, marketed, and constructed by the Rembold concern, ultimately reaching a total of 2 million square feet of space for offices, conferences, laboratories, and classrooms. The $120 million development figure reflects a minimum average construction cost estimate of $60 per square foot.
Facilities in the park are to be built to tenant specifications and rented on long-term leases. Mr. Carlson says it is expected that the area will ''develop as a prime location for new business and as a seedbed for new ideas and new techniques.''
Rental fees will be paid to the Graduate Center by Rembold abd are expected to reach $2 million each year. Ultimately, ownership of all Science Park facilities will revert to the Graduate Center.
No tenant agreements have yet been reached, but Mr. Carlson said a number of leading technological firms have been approached and have shown considerable interest.
The overall design of the center will extend the campus atmosphere of the Graduate Center, with advanced energy-conservation concepts encouraged in construction. In the plans are passive and active solar heating, cooling, and lighting; waste-heat recovery; energy management by computer control and simulation; high-efficiency central lighting; and geo-source heat pumps.
The campus design embraces a cluster of buildings, spaced to preserve open areas and to separate tenant identities. Should there be a need, small office complexes may also be included.
The 19-year-odd Graduate Center, with a current-year budget of $4.6 million, now has 8' students and 26 faculty. anticipated Enrollment of 300 is expected by 1987, when the faculty will have doubled.
In addition to the Science Park, the Graduate Center plans to build a Computer Science and Engineering Building and an Applied Science and Engineering Building, at a total cost of $3.7 million.