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Colleges & Universities

University of Oregon to Buy Portland Campus of Concordia University for $60 Million

The University of Oregon plans to purchase the former Portland campus of Concordia University for $60.5 million and build a children’s behavioral health institute on the 13-acre site, provided that legal rights to the property are resolved.

The institute will be funded by a $425 million gift from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, who is a University of Oregon graduate.

Concordia, a private Lutheran school, announced in February 2020 it would close its doors after 115 years because of mounting debt. The property is now under the ownership of the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. 

But the Missouri Synod, the governing body for the denomination, also has the legal right to claim the property if it’s used for a purpose “other than as a religious or educational institution affiliated with the Lutheran Church.” 

For the sale to go through, LCEF must reach an agreement with the synod to “extinguish” its right of reentry and provide that agreement to the University of Oregon, which can back out of the deal if the synod does not do so, The Oregonian reported.

Also, California-based tech company HotChalk Inc. claims Concordia owes it $300 million for providing online class services and has filed a legal claim on the property.

Other Concordia campuses that have closed or changed hands in the last few years include the Bronxville campus in New York, which was acquired by nearby Iona College in 2021; Concordia University Ann Arbor, which was annexed by Concordia University Wisconsin in 2013; and Concordia College in Alabama, a historically Black college, which shut its doors in 2018.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.