How a building development is bringing Oregonians back to the Columbia River

For the first time in many years people are getting riverfront access to a developing section of Hood River in Oregon, thanks to a project designed by Skylab architecture firm. Called Outpost, the project brings together recreation, retail, and work across a large swath of the Columbia riverfront. 

Because Hood River, Oregon has often used its riverfront for industrial purposes, public engagement has been limited. But all of that has changed since Outpost, a three-story building development that sought to reimagine the possibilities in accordance with the city’s Waterfront Masterplan, opened in 2019. 

Skylab partnered with Key Development to transform the former water treatment center into what is now a mixed-use commercial space with design nods to the area’s former industrial days as well as the architecture of barns and mountain lodges.

The two buildings are connected by a bridge and outdoor space that invites people to come and go between offices, retail, or even the area’s popular brewery or distillery. Following Outpost’s elevated walkway design, the waterfront plan seeks to create a community of buildings connected by boardwalks. The upper levels at Outpost also have incredible views, looking out at Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. No matter where you are in the development you’re not far from nature, with large, efficient thermally broken industrial windows offering a vantage point out to the river.

The ground floor is home to foundational tenants like the Ferment brewery and Camp 1805 distillery, and the upper floors are reserved for retail, offices, and coworking. The design team said moving offices and retail to the upper levels was intentional in order to disturb the traditional flow of buildings and encourage movement.

Project Credits

Project: Outpost
Location: Hood River, OR
Completion: 2019
Size: 30,000 square feet
Architect: Skylab
Structural Engineer: Valar Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Vista GeoEnvironnmental Services
Contractor: Celilo Construction
Interior Designer: Skylab