Three-Dimensional Scanning Will Help Save Pioneer Courthouse Square


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After 30 years and millions of visitors, Oregon’s famous Pioneer Courthouse Square is in much need of renovation. Due to its age and use, the existing waterproof membrane and brick plaza are beginning to deteriorate. The structure, portico columns and restrooms also require repairs to ensure visitors’ safety. Fortunately, the Portland community voted for the Parks Replacement Bond, which will provide up to $68 million in obligation bonds.

Pioneer Courthouse Square is located in the center of downtown Portland. It is often referred to as “Portland’s living room.” The 40,006-square-foot park was built in 1984. According to the City of Portland’s Parks and Recreation, it has since become “Portland’s greatest testament to the strength and endurance of its civic will.”

Benefits of 3D Scanning

Three-dimensional images enable engineers, designers, contractors and the public to clearly understand the scope of the project.

Beginning a project with a single and accurate set of measurements improves design as well as communication between building owners, designers and subcontractors. This information ultimately saves time and money, which is crucial when working on such a well-known and beloved public location.

Three-Dimensional Scanning

Due to the complexity of this structure, it is crucial that renovators use proven surveying methods during the preparation stages. In partnership with SRG and the City of Portland, Epic Scan used laser technology to scan and document the Pioneer Courthouse Square. The scanner rapidly measured the location to create a 3D model. In addition, the scanner took photographs that allowed Epic Scan to create a short video as a virtual fly-through of the project site.

For the purpose of redesign, Epic Scan supplied architects with documentation information through as-built measurements. We also provided virtual site access (VSA), photographs, point cloud and topographic drawings of the location.

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In addition to repairing the square’s facilities and infrastructure, this project will preserve and enhance the existing structure to meet the needs of Portland residents and visitors. Renovations for the Pioneer Courthouse Square are currently in the design process. Construction for this project is expected to begin in fall 2016.

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