Image of a group of people wearing hard hats and safety vests scooping dirt at a construction site.

NEWPORT, Ore. – Construction is now underway on a 77-unit housing project to support students, staff, visiting scientists and others working and learning at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

“We are excited to see this important project get underway,” said Bob Cowen, the center’s director and associate vice president for marine research and operations. “Housing is critical to the future of Hatfield Marine Science Center and its ability to support coastal and marine research and education opportunities.”

Newport and the surrounding community are experiencing a significant shortage of workforce housing, with vacancy rates in Lincoln County below 2 %. Lack of housing has been a constraint to recruiting students and scientists to Hatfield.

The $16.5 million, 34,000-square-foot housing project will feature 72 studio-style units and five two-bedroom units that can serve both shorter and longer-term stays. The facility is being built off Southeast 40th Street in South Newport, about three-quarters of a mile from the Hatfield campus.

Representatives from Hatfield as well as state Sen. Dick Anderson, state Rep. David Gomberg, city of Newport Mayor Jan Kaplan and others gathered Monday at the site to celebrate the official groundbreaking.

“We are grateful for the support this project has received from the state and our community and we hope it will contribute to alleviating some of the pressures on the regional housing market,” Cowen said.

Existing housing on the Hatfield site is limited, aging and within the tsunami zone, meaning it would likely be impacted by a major tsunami event. The new housing project is located on a five-acre parcel outside the tsunami inundation zone.

The site is large enough to allow for expansion based on future demand. Under current timelines, the facility could be ready to open for fall 2025.

The new housing is expected to serve a wide range of needs, including upper division and graduate students taking classes or participating in research projects at Hatfield; faculty researchers; instructors and teaching assistants; visiting researchers and other mission partners.

The project architect is Mackenzie Inc., which has offices in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, Washington; The general contractor is O’Brien & Lucas Ventures, LLC, a partnership of O'Brien Design + Build and Lucas Design-Build.

Hatfield Marine Science Center

About OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center: The center is a research and teaching facility located in Newport, Ore., on the Yaquina Bay estuary, about one mile from the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. It plays an integral role in programs of marine and estuarine research and instruction, as a laboratory serving resident scientists, as a base for far-ranging oceanographic studies and as a classroom for students. In addition to Oregon State researchers and students, its campus includes research activities and facilities from five different state and federal agencies.

Story By: 

Michelle Klampe, 541-737-0784, [email protected]


Sheena Scarberry, [email protected]


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