Blog
   September 22, 2017

On Friday, September 15, cities across the world participated in PARK(ing) Day, an event in which parking spaces are temporarily converted to public parks. Teams from Otak offices in Portland and Denver contributed to parks in their respective cities, taking the opportunity to temporarily transform an ordinary parking space into a beautiful piece of urban landscape.

In Portland, designers from Otak’s PAD group collaborated with Friends of Trees to create a Micro Forest. The Micro Forest was a big hit—several Otak departments held meetings in the space, and diners from the adjacent Chipotle restaurant enjoyed having a cozy, shaded space to devour their burritos.

The landscape architecture team from Otak’s Denver office partnered with students and local designers to create the biggest PARK(ing) Day installation in the city, consisting of five parking spaces in front of Union Station. Otak oversaw the event and designed two of the spaces. The installation was designed to address adaptive reuse.

According to PARK(ing) Day’s website, “The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space and sustainable design, to generate debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat...at least until the meter runs out!”

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   September 21, 2017

Otak's Portland stormwater engineers attended the 2017 Sustainable Stormwater Symposium on September 13th and 14th at OMSI. Otak was a platinum sponsor for the event, which was co-hosted by the Environmental Water Resources Group and the American Public Works Association. Symposium presentations included keynotes by the U.S. Geological Survey, Denver's Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Otak's Melanie Klym presented on a project which used channel restoration to address flow-duration design standards. A presentation by the City of Gresham highlighted Teresa Huntsinger’s work with the City to develop a stormwater retrofit assessment tool.

The Symposium included a half-day bike tour around Southeast and Southwest Portland to visit stormwater facilities and hear from those involved in their design, construction, and maintenance. Several Otakians served as bike tour leaders. Matt Klym, an engineer on Otak's Transportation and Infrastructure Systems team, presented at the fourth bike tour stop, giving an overview of the OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building (LEED Platinum) site design and stormwater management. We are already looking forward to the next Symposium in 2019!

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   September 14, 2017

The Portland Westside Economic Alliance (WEA) and the Westside Transportation Alliance (WTA) held a joint meeting September 13, 2017 to discuss multi-modal transportation challenges, progress to-date, and future vision. 

A panel made up of TriMet's Tom Mills, Jeannine Rustad of the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department (THPRD), David Evans & Associates' Andrew Mortenson, Intel's Nathan Derstine, and Washington County's Dyami Valentine discussed studies and plans their organizations are making to help connect people to jobs.

Adam Argo of David Evans and Associates moderated the panel.

Jeannine Rustad spoke about trails and the partnerships built to complete different trail segments. Tom Mills shared information about transit funding through the upcoming employee paid payroll tax and how the agency is looking to enhance service. Dyami Valentine presented takeaways from the recent Washington County Transportation Futures Study.

In addition to sponsoring the WEA-WTA meeting, Otak will be sponsoring WEA’s "Transportation Month” involving numerous meetings and conferences in the month of September to further transportation system excellence development over time in Portland and the northwest. 

Pictured, from left to right: Brian Burby (Otak), Tom Mills (TriMet), Jeannine Rustad (THPRD), Nathan Derstine (Intel), Andrew Mortensen and Adam Argo (David Evans & Associates), Dyami Valentine (Washington County)

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   September 8, 2017

As part of our Dogs in the Workplace pilot program, we’d like to introduce our four legged friends.

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   August 31, 2017

Otak is pleased to annouce that Ben Bortolazzo has been appointed to the City of Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC). Ben will join a group of 11 volunteers who review policies that affect land use other sectors of the community. 

To read the full press release from the City of Portland, click here.

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   August 15, 2017

Otak participated in the ninth annual Kickball Without Borders fundraiser on Saturday, August 12th. Shark Otak went only 1-2 on the field but won big in the raffle, with several team members winning prizes, including the grand prize!

The event was hosted by the Portland chapter of Engineers Without Borders. The funds generated by this event will be used for projects in Haiti, Ecuador, Tanzania, and Portland.

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   August 3, 2017

On July 28th, a few Otakians hit the links for the 31st annual Western Economic Alliance (WEA) Golf Scramble. Otak’s foursome, including Don Hanson, Adrian Esteban, Ian Machan, and joined by Columbia County’s Chuck Daughtry, finished ninth overall! The theme for this year’s tournament was “Full STEAM Ahead” in support of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. Otak was a proud event sponsor, and provided ice cream at Hole #10 to help keep the golfers cool in the hot conditions. The Golf Scramble is the only annual fundraiser for the WEA and helps raise approximately 10 percent of the organization’s budget. 

From Left to Right: Chuck Daughtry, Columbia County; Don Hanson, Ian Machan, Adrian Esteban, Otak

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   July 26, 2017

Tuesday, July 18 marked the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cascades Tissue converting plant in Scappoose, OR. The plant will convert 4,600-pound rolls of paper into various commercial and household paper products. Among the prominent Oregon dignitaries in attendance were Governor Kate Brown and Senate Representative Betsy Johnson. Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Governor Brown spoke about the importance of providing jobs in rural areas. The plant provided 200 jobs during construction and will provide 80 full-time jobs during operation. By providing local jobs, the facility will help reduce commuting, and improve participation and quality of life in the local community.

Otak provided planning, engineering and architectural services for the project. The offices and warehouse are an impressive 286,300 sq. ft. of space in the master-planned industrial area in Scappoose. The building design strives to fit within the local context and features local heavy timber and cross laminated timber at the entry and patio spaces.

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   July 7, 2017

Last week, Rachel Settecase, Otak’s interior designer, organized a tour of the Schoolhouse Electric Co. Warehouse in NW Portland. The tour highlighted the many functions of this Portland-based manufacturing company and design brand. The group was especially impressed with the facility, housed in a massive 115-year old factory building on Nicolai Street. “We found that [the Warehouse] is an exceptional model of local manufacturing,”. The first floor contains a Ristretto coffee shop and flagship store, and integrates the product design/ prototyping/ marketing studio under the same roof.

Schoolhouse Electric Co. was founded in 2003, when Brian Faherty restored a long-lost collection of cast-iron glass shade molds he found in an abandoned warehouse. His business, preserving and restoring manufacturing equipment, bloomed into a lifestyle brand encompassing a wide range of function and design. In addition to its headquarters, Schoolhouse Electric has a store in New York City.

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   July 6, 2017

Earlier this week, our Vancouver office moved to Suite 300! Stop by and say hello next time you're in the area.

Of course things would not run smoothly without IT. Thanks Steve, Victor, Joe, and Drew!

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