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Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley Tours Region's Largest Recovery Project

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley recently toured one of the GSA’s largest recovery projects – the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland.  The Senator and numerous representatives from local labor organizations visited the $140 million modernization American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 project to get an up close look at the progress being made on the renovation and to learn more about the government and labor partnership key to the construction.

The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building was originally constructed in 1974 and was in need of significant upgrades.  The modernization will turn the building into one of the premier environmentally-friendly buildings in the nation. The newly renovated building will feature a 50% reduction in lighting energy usage through an advanced lighting system; a 60-65% reduction in portable water consumption through the use of low-flow fixtures and reuse of rainwater for toilets, irrigation and mechanical cooling; a solar array on the roof to offset up to 6% of the building’s energy consumption; and a unique energy-saving façade of rods and shading reeds to provide optimal daylight, heating and cooling.

In addition to the innovative green features, the project is a showcase for positive labor and small business relations.  From the onset, the GSA and contractors agreed to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), a project-specific collective bargaining agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific construction project.  The PLA has been instrumental to keeping the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt project on track for completion in 2013.

GSA has made a commitment to creating opportunities for women, minorities and veterans on the project, too, by setting and meeting aggressive goals for contracting and employment. More than $8 million has been subcontracted so far to small, minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses.

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Stephanie Nicole Kenitzer
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