Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center
After a century of service as a warehouse for the goods of the industrial economy, the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center was revitalized by Ecotrust as a marketplace that fosters the ideas, goods, and services of the new economy — one that creates wellbeing for people and the places they live.
Accessible by Portland Streetcar (NW 10th and Johnson stop), by bicycle (generous outdoor parking spaces), by bus, on foot and with limited car parking, the Center is located in Portland's Pearl District on Northwest 10th and Irving streets. A former industrial area, the Pearl District is now a vibrant, compact mixed-used neighborhood of converted warehouses, shops, galleries, innovative open spaces and high-performance housing.
As one of the early catalysts for Pearl District revitalization, the Center has been acclaimed by civic leaders as an important contribution to the city's landscape and a unique blend of environmental innovation and historic restoration.
A Vibrant Gathering Place
Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company known for its environmental ethic, is our retail anchor, working in its largest retail outlet anywhere. The 70,000-square-foot Natural Capital Center also houses Ecotrust's headquarters and a mix of nonprofit and business tenants gathered around the themes of ecological forestry and fisheries, green building, technology and financial investment. Food vendors on the ground floor feature local and organic fare, and Portland-area CSA’s (community-supported agriculture) drop weekly food shares for customers.
Ecotrust and our community of tenants welcome the public through generous common spaces for exhibits, events and spontaneous meetings. The building includes outdoor seating, a public atrium, a resource center, and an outdoor terrace with fireplace. All floors incorporate display areas for exhibits and shared information. The Billy Frank, Jr. Conference Center, a flexible 1,800 square-foot space with advanced audio-visual capabilities, is available to business and community groups for meetings, workshops, receptions and other events.
The Natural Capital Center is a place to share ideas, to work, and to celebrate. It is a place for rituals old and new, for transforming the landscape of business, culture, and commerce. Visit us, take a tour, and play a part in shaping the new economy.
A Pioneer Green Building
The Natural Capital Center earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification. It is, nationwide, the first restoration of a historic building to reap the LEED gold rating. The certification considers such factors as water efficiency, energy performance, siting, materials, and indoor air quality.
Originally constructed as a warehouse in 1895, the Natural Capital Center building was acquired by Ecotrust in 1998 with the help of an extraordinary gift from philanthropist and founding board member Jean Vollum. The building reopened for business in 2001.
Ecotrust's renovation of the brick and timber building respects the character of the original 1895 structure while incorporating environmentally-innovative materials and techniques. The redevelopment contractor, Walsh Construction, has estimated that more than 98 percent of the construction waste has been recycled or reclaimed, a Portland city record.
The building also features an "ecoroof" that, together with street-level landscaping, filters and absorbs most, if not all, of the site's rainwater, eliminating runoff to the overburdened Willamette River. The roof also holds a solar panel array that supplies 10% of the building’s energy.