April 29, 2016

On Thursday, a group from Otak’s architecture team visited the multifamily project under construction at 14th and Oak in SE Portland to see how our designs are taking shape. This four-story market-rate apartment project will offer 41 units supported with a lobby, mail room, bike storage, a pet wash room, and on-site below-grade parking. Construction method is wood frame over podium and the project is being built by Essex General Construction Inc. for Buckman, LLC. The project will open to residents August and feature large windows for great city view. Neighborhood amenities at this close-in location are the nearby Revolution Hall and a wide assortment of restaurants and pubs.

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   April 19, 2016

Congratulations to our very own dOnT AsK!  (Otakian and friends) Portland office co-ed volleyball team for winning their division league championship games in the final match of the winter season. Excellent work by Kelly Youngberg, Troy Kent, Kelly Buchanan, Jeremy Tamargo, Chad Maxwell, Scott Zelenka, Scott Sanders, Tammi Connolly and Kristin Lessard. After winning two seasons as a Softcore level team, this team is moving to midcore level! Our team is organized through Underdog Sports Leagues - an adult co-ed, recreational sports league in Portland, Oregon. 


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   March 30, 2016

Last Tuesday evening, Lori McFarland, Eva Ho, Marina Howard, Matthew Scarsella, and Curtis LaPierre (past Otakian) attended the WTS Puget Sound Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. This event recognizes outstanding transportation projects, programs, and people in the Puget Sound area. Dinner was served, Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit’s CEO, spoke on his support of WTS’ mission and opportunities in our region’s transportation system, and then our team, including client, City of Seattle Department of Transportation, accepted an award for the Georgetown Festival Street project. A good time was had by all!

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   March 23, 2016

Otak staff got together with longtime teaming consultant Kittelson & Associates, Inc. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness basketball. Kittelson planned the event at their Portland office with food, drinks and games. While a basketball game played on the big screen, the two firms socialized. Don Hansen and Mike Peebles from Otak shared stories about working with Kittelson from the beginning (1981.) It was a great chance for our firms to get together, reflecting on all that we’ve done together and looking forward to the future. 


“ We really enjoyed spending an afternoon together better getting to know your staff, enjoying some social time, and learning a bit of history between the firms” Diego Arguea, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.


Thank you to Kittelson for hosting a fun and engaging get together!

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   March 15, 2016

Volunteering at Johnson Creek Watershed Council's Watershed-Wide Event

Watershed Wide is an epic day of volunteerism coordinated by Johnson Creek Watershed Council and partners: Portland Parks and Recreation, City of Gresham, Friends of Trees, Friends of Tideman Johnson, and the Crystal Springs Partnership. This community event brings together hundreds of Johnson Creek supporters at ten different work sites that span the entire length of the watershed.  

Five Otakians joined nearly three hundred volunteers on March 5th to restore the health of the Johnson Creek Watershed. Riparian conditions were improved by planting over five thousand native plants across the ten sites. Emily Leete, Morgan Haines, and Ami Cobb joined Melanie McCandless at a site near the Foster Floodplain Natural Area (formerly known as the East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project). Michael Rafferty provided needed maintenance on native plantings at the Westmoreland Park in a restored area of the Crystal Springs floodplain.

A big thank you to event sponsor Clackamas Water Environment Services!

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   March 1, 2016

Otak’s design team celebrated the recent opening of the 15 West Apartments in Vancouver, Washington.  This five-story affordable housing project provides 120 new homes of one, two or three bedrooms, supported by on-site parking and common areas that include an exercise area, gathering spaces, as well as an outdoor terrace above the entry.

Otak also designed the nearby 13 West affordable housing project, slated to open in 2017. Both projects were designed for DBG Properties LLC; 15 West is the developer’s first project in Vancouver.

In addition to providing much-need affordable housing options to an area where rental costs are rapidly rising, the design provides a contemporary new urban addition to downtown Vancouver’s core area.  Live-work units support commercial activities while proving additional economic opportunity to residents.


For more information click here.

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   February 9, 2016

The 8th Annual Beaverton Mayor's Ball was a great evening of socializing, dining, dancing, and bidding! Otak was a corporate sponsor at this year's fundraising event which has three local beneficiaries: The Beaverton Arts and Culture Foundation, the Beaverton Civic Theater, and HomePlate, an organization which helps at-risk and homeless youth. The main event was a live auction, where the auctioneer had the entire room on the edge of their seats and generously giving to these outstanding causes. Otak continues to do great work with the City of Beaverton and was pleased to be a part of such an exciting and admirable event.

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   February 8, 2016

Otak’s Tim Kraft and Trista Kobluskie introduced the Clark County Stormwater Manual 2015 to a full house of local engineers working in the Vancouver and Clark County, WA, area. The presentation covered policy highlights, organization of the manual, and selection and feasibility of mandatory low impact development practices. Otak was the lead consultant in developing the manual, which is the first standalone comprehensive stormwater manual published by the County. The manual is designed to be technically equivalent to the 2014 Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington while providing an easier-to-use format and organization.

To view the Stormwater Manual, click here.

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   January 25, 2016

In the category of Social, Economic, and Sustainable Design Considerations, Otak was given a GOLD Award for our Overlake Village South Detention Vault—Integrated Facilities in Redmond, Washington. This project is a great example of integrated design, involving our WNR, PAD, and TIS groups.

The Overlake Village neighborhood is projected to grow into the next urban center on the eastside of the Central Puget Sound region. Plans call for the neighborhood to provide a mix of commercial, retail, and residential uses in proximity to the employment uses at the Microsoft campus and the planned East Link light rail service, targeted to open in 2023. Otak brought together the interdisciplinary skills of water resource engineers, urban planners, and landscape architects to examine options for multiple purpose infrastructure to serve the projected growth and redevelopment of the neighborhood.

The Otak team worked closely with City of Redmond staff on planning, analysis, and conceptual design for an integrated system of community features to minimize, control, and treat surface water runoff, and to provide neighborhood parks, recreation opportunities, and green spaces for the 323-acre Overlake drainage basin. LID techniques within public rights-of-way (street and trail corridors) as well as LID opportunities on adjacent private parcels will allow for localized rainwater infiltration, treatment, and open space opportunities. For larger rainfall events, regional stormwater facilities collocated with City parks will provide storage and infiltration of runoff and allow for public use over the top of the facilities. 

Otak developed a strategic implementation plan for this proactive approach to balance the interconnected LID elements, regional facilities, and parks and open spaces. This approach allowed the most cost-effective means of providing stormwater management by locating the regional facilities in areas most suitable for stormwater facilities and with dual function as public parks and open spaces to serve the growing neighborhood. An overarching objective of the project was provide the maximum benefit to the environment while also supporting a vibrant urban center. 

This first phase of implementation successfully constructed the largest stormwater detention vault in Washington. The vault was constructed within a highly urbanized neighborhood requiring deep excavation near busy roadways and adjacent businesses. The successful construction of the regional stormwater facility has significantly stimulated economic growth in the Overlake Village area with several redevelopment master plans being submitted before construction was completed. This project shows how careful planning can create a win-win situation for developers who can now maximize their site development potential and be assured that the stormwater from their sites is properly managed and for the City who wanted to the maximum the amount of environmental enhancement, economic growth, and open space in an area that lacked all three.

“It was a pleasure working with Otak, and I appreciated your flexibility as the project took its many starts and stops. 

I would recommend you highly for this kind of work. Thanks to you and your team.” 

 - Steve Hitch, Senior Stormwater Engineer, City of Redmond

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   January 22, 2016

Along Spirit Lake, in Mt St Helens, Washington, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bored a 1.6-mile tunnel through bedrock to provide a new outlet after the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens blocked the lake’s natural outlet.  Without the tunnel, the lake could fill and begin overflowing onto nearby highways.  Recently, it was discovered the floor of the tunnel has been rising effectively shrinking the diameter of the tunnel. Otak is part of the team working to fix the tunnel to keep in in operation. Our Professional Land Surveyors are establishing survey control in the Spirit Lake Tunnel and marking the locations for the work to take place using robotic total station survey equipment. This project is 6,000 feet inside the tunnel. Work in a tunnel that is always wet, with running water from 2” to 40” deep, dark, and strongly ventilated is difficult. The crew spent their days a mile and a quarter inside the 11’ diameter tunnel. The remote location is a 2 ½ hour commute from the nearest town. The crew worked Friday-Tuesday, 14 hours each day and our office technical staff worked each evening starting around 8pm when data could be sent in from the remote location. Data was processed each night so new information could be used the next day.  Construction is scheduled to be complete by May 2016. 


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