Pioneer Courthouse


Portland, Oregon

Contributing Component of a National Historic Landmark

Local Landmark

Pioneer Courthouse was designed by Alfred B. Mullett, Supervising Architect of the Treasury in 1869. The restoration and seismic upgrade of the National Historic Landmark courthouse, located in the heart of downtown Portland, was one of GSA’s most controversial projects in the past ten years. Barbara was hired as the first professional preservation architect and officer for the Northwest region of GSA specifically to oversee the construction and Section 106 process for this project.

The courthouse underwent a comprehensive exterior restoration, interior rehabilitation and seismic upgrade using base isolation. The building, which had functioned as both a courthouse and post office for most of its life, was adapted for use as the Court of Appeals. While not a registered LEED project, the team followed all the sound green building construction practices recommended in LEED, including developing a salvage and recycling program for the removed existing fabric.

As the GSA Regional Historic Preservation Officer, one of the most significant contributions Barbara made was her capacity to build consensus among diverse constituencies. The changes made to the historic fabric including the insertion of a new foundation, and the addition of an underground parking garage and new driveway, required that a complex mitigation program be instituted. She created and coordinated a community review committee, developed a film which documented the entire design and construction process, designed and developed a walking tour and brochure, and developed educational materials for use in the courthouse.

Owner: General Services Administration