CREW Portland
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October Tour and Happy Hour

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The Transformation of Washington High School

This exciting project celebrates and preserves the beautiful architecture and historical significance of Washington High School. Vacant for decades, the Buckman neighborhood long desired that the school be returned to an active, community-enhancing use. Art DeMuro—preservationist and founder of Venerable Group—championed the sale and redevelopment of the school, and was instrumental in the property being sold by the School District. Art passed away in 2012 before his dream could be realized, but the team at Venerable and development partner PacTrust persevered, closing the deal with Portland Public Schools in October 2013.  

Construction started shortly after closing and will be complete in early 2015. Leases for more than half of the building are currently in the works.


CREW will tour this $20M project that transforms the original high school into retail, creative office, and performance/event spaces. The four-story building is being fully modernized while keeping many of the vintage high school features, including lockers, chalkboards, and IBM clocks. New building features include a 2,680 sf roof deck with impressive views of downtown Portland.


Click here for a full description.

Member Profile

Steve Smith, S.D. Deacon

Steve Smith was born in New Orleans and then moved to Oregon as an infant where he settled with his parents, two older brothers and younger sister in the West Hills of Portland. He attended the University of Oregon and graduated with a BS in journalism and advertising. His career took off with a variety of advertising sales jobs in radio, print, outdoor and direct mail.

After a long career in advertising he was recently employed by S.D. Deacon. His year and a half tenure with the “best construction company in the world”, has been a fast paced journey of hard work, fun, education, and golf. He was quoted as saying he really appreciates the opportunity to learn the business with such a great group of colleagues and has jumped feet first into the industry. He serves on the programs committee for both CREW and SMPS and was the co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Idea Exchange for the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Steve’s appreciation for the Pacific Northwest is evidenced by his indulgence of many outdoor activities including biking, golfing, tennis, camping, hiking and running. His favorite vacation destination is Hawaii or anywhere scuba diving, hiking and beaches are options. Please feel free to reach out to Steve. He is always willing to collaborate on ideas or lend a hand in most situations, or a round of golf.

July Program Recap

Beautiful Addition to Portland's Skyline and Economic Recovery
By: Paul Watts, Founder/CEO, Grafitti Removal Services

At July’s CREW member’s luncheon, we were treated to the exciting news of how and TMT Development was progressing on Park Avenue West, the new building at the corner of SW Park Avenue and 9th.


Park Avenue West Tower will be a 30-story, 546,000 square foot mixed-use development in the heart of Portland’s Central Business District. Portland’s newest tower will include 13 stories of Class A office space, 15 floors of residential units, and feature unobstructed, 360-degree views from virtually every floor.  Park Avenue West Tower takes a comprehensive approach to sustainability, and has secured pre-construction LEED Platinum certification with the U.S. Green Building Council.


The tower, which is certified LEED Platinum, will be the most environmentally-friendly building in Oregon, surpassing Platinum designation.  It was designed to reduce potable water by 40 percent, cut energy costs by 32 percent and features Portland’s first 40,000 gallon rain harvesting tank.


Vanessa Sturgeon, president and CEO of TMT Development, explained some of the great amenities the new tower will offer and how her family works with local contractors and local vendors to bring this new building very local.


Vanessa emphasized the importance of having a local contractor build the towers and explained that Hoffman Construction was picked because of the long friendship and working relationship both families have had over the last 40 years.


When asked how the elevators will cope with the heavy traffic of people and long lines waiting for the elevators, Vanessa explained that TMT Development has installed a state of the art elevator that will move at speeds of 1000 feet per minute.  Ladies and gentleman hang on to your coffees, this speed will get you to your destination faster than you can say “ what floor was I supposed to go to.”


Vanessa also announced that River Stone Property Managers will be managing the residential part of the building and TMT Development will be managing the commercial side.  One of the most exciting aspects of the new tower is that every floor will have 36” operational windows to let the Northwest sunlight in and give every floor a reason to be in a good mood.

Upcoming Events

CREW Network Convention & Marketplace
Tuesday, Sep. 30th @ 12:00 pm
October Tour and Happy Hour
Thursday, Oct. 9th @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
November Luncheon
Thursday, Nov. 13th @ 11:45 am
December Awards Luncheon
Thursday, Dec. 11th @ 11:45 am
Forecast Breakfast
Friday, Jan. 9th @ 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Online Payment Service