Deal Watch: OMSI adds millions to the equation


Problem for the day: $2.9 million + X = Y.


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By Robin Doussard

Problem for the day: $2.9 million + X = Y.

If you’re afraid of algebra, you’ve just turned the page. Maybe your fear began as a kid in school, and it ended your math interest and sent you straight into the arms of a career that didn’t need higher mathematics. Like waiting tables or journalism. Those dreams of being a scientist or architect were squelched by algebra anxiety.

The $2.9 million in the equation is the grant amount awarded by the National Science Foundation in mid January to OMSI, the popular Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, to further the daunting cause of teaching algebra to youngsters. It’s the largest award ever received by OMSI in its 64 years. Over the past 10 years, NSF has awarded OMSI more than $10 million.

The exhibit, Access Algebra, will debut at OMSI  in May 2010, where it will stay for six months before traveling the country for five to 10 years. The exhibit is expected to reach more than 3.5 million visitors nationwide.

The X in the equation is the project’s ambition. “Algebra is a difficult topic, and for most people hard to visualize that they could learn it in a large exhibit,” says Marilyn Johnson, OMSI director of research and development, adding that this is a new area that advances the field of informal math education.

Access Algebra targets middle-schoolers and includes a “training package” for volunteers and staff at other museums. Johnson says this undertaking is one of the most complex they’ve tackled. OMSI is also going to partner with middle-school students from the Blazers Boys and Girls club in Northeast Portland to help conceive the exhibit, along with Oregon State University’s College of Education and TERC, a Boston-based nonprofit math and science research center.

And the Y in the equation? More math literacy for more kids that leads to more choices.

Now, about those polynomial functions.


Jan. 21Q ‘08Barrett Business Services (Vancouver, WA.)First Employment Services (AZ)$5m (cash + earn-out)
Jan. 151Q ‘08Harry & David Holdings (Medford)Wolferman’s (KS) /Williams FoodsND
Jan. 161Q ‘08Universal Systems (Baker City)5,000-mile-long submarine cable (offshore)/Darrell Throckmorton$102m (convertible debenture)
Jan. 221Q ‘08Art Technology Group (MA)CleverSet (Corvallis)$10m (cash)
Jan. 5Meadow Wood Associates (Portland)Meadow Wood apartments (Vancouver, WA ) / Orchards Retirement$26.6m
Jan. 5Vancouver Prairie View (WA)Prairie View apartments (Vancouver, WA) / Prairie View Associates (WA)$26.7m
Jan. 512000 SW Pioneer Lane (Portland)Scholls Terrace apartments (Beaverton) / Scholls Terrace$14.5m
Jan. 9The Ashforth Co. (CT)Pacwest Center (Portland) / Mitsubishi Estate and Meiji Yasuda Realty$161.5m
Jan. 15PNWC-ContinentalContinental apartments (Portland) / Kai and Lily Chow$1.17m
Jan. 16BPG Properties Ltd. (PA)two apartments (Wilsonville) / Boston Capital Real Estate Investment TrustND
Jan. 18Water Tower (Portland)Water Tower retail (Portland) / Water Tower Associates (Portland)$19.7m
Jan. 21GM WyndhamPreston’s Crossing apartments (Beaverton)$26.2m
Jan. 21Highland Rentals (Portland)Larch Drive Townhomes (Beaverton) / Larch Properties (Portland)$1.75m
Jan. 23Carson Oil Co.service station (Wilsonville) / Horizon Oil$1.97m
Jan. 23Bayshore Apartments OregonThe Bayshore apartments (Astoria) / Gryphon Enterprise & McCardle 1991 Family Trust$3.85m
Jan. 24Sloy Dahl & Holstoffice condo (Portland) / One Jefferson Partners$1.5m
Jan. 28Guardian Management (Portland)San Remo apartments (Beaverton) / Fairfield Residential (CA)$24.2m
Jan. 28Briar Lane PropertiesCanby Place retail (Canby) / JCR Resources$6.3m
Jan. 28MRV PropertyVermont Village apartments (Portland) / ND$3.75m
Jan. 28Jorken Oregon7.6 acres of land (Canby) / Ray L. Burden estate$1.68m
Jan. 28Davis Propertiesindustrial building (Canby) / Pioneer Properties$1.055m
Jan. 28San Rafael Groupindustrial building (Gresham) / Anson R. Baker$2.6m
Jan. 28SVF Hedges Creek Tualatin / American Realty Advisors (CA)Hedges Creek apartments (Tualatin) / Monadnick Property Trust (CO)$55m
Jan. 28Church of Scientology (Portland)Stevens Building (Portland) / OCF Joseph E Weston Public Foundation$5.38m
Jan. 28Phillips Edison & Company (MD)Hermiston Plaza retail (Hermiston) / Kimco Realty~$15m
Jan. 30Vocational Development Foundation (Portland)Goodwill building (Portland) / Carlyle Investment Co.$4.5m
Jan. 17Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (Portland) / Nancy Stueber, presidentNational Science Foundation$2.9m (grant)
Jan. 21Nautilus (Vancouver, WA.) / Gregg Hammann, chairman & CEOBank of America$100m (line of credit)
Jan. 23Calypte Biomedical Corporation (Portland) / Roger I. Gale, CEOFusion Capital Fund II (IL)$8m (cash)
Jan. 25Umpqua Community Development (Roseburg) / Betty Tamm, executive directorNorthwest Area Foundation (MN)$100k (award)
Jan. 31VirtenSysTM, Ltd. (Beaverton) / Ahmet Houssein, president & CEOScottish Equity Partners, Celtic House VP & GIMV (U.K.)$12m (series B)

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