Experts in electronics, optics, biology and cancer will work together in the new Knight Cancer Institute.

Experts in electronics, optics, biology and cancer will work together in the new Knight Cancer Institute.

OHSU

The first large chunk of the $1 billion raised as part of the “Knight Cancer Challenge” is being spent on a new research building.

Two years ago, Nike founder Phil Knight challenged Oregon Health & Science University to raise $1 billion to cure cancer.

Now the first major building is going up.

From street level, it’ll be seven stories high, with two stories underground. The whole building is being constructed on a polluted brownfield site in the Willamette River flood plain, so it’s essentially being built in a bath tub — to keep water and pollutants out.

But senior project manager Ed Trotter said lab vibrations are one of his biggest concerns,

“Some of the instruments are very sensitive to vibration, so there’s a very intensive vibration analysis done on the structure to make sure, literally, people just walking by doesn’t disturb the equipment.”

The $160 million building is being paid for by the state as part of the cancer challenge.

It’s expected to open in two years.