March 2013
   March 29, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce two new hires!


Derek Chisholm, AICP, LEED Green Associate, has joined Otak as a Senior Planner working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. He has managed and participated in many successful city planning efforts, historic preservation and transportation projects. He has recently served as the Consultant, Environmental Project Manager for the Columbia River Crossing project. Derek earned his Masters of Public Affairs degree in Environmental Planning from Western Carolina University. He has served on various Boards of Directors, Task Forces and the Vancouver Planning Commission.

Joe Primeau has joined Otak as a Civil Designer working out of our office in Lake Oswego/Portland, Oregon.  He is experienced in both public and private engineering roles, and he is skilled in the areas of project coordination, technical writing, public involvement, construction observation, cost estimating, and document control. Joe earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University and he is currently a member of the American Public Works Association – Oregon Chapter.

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   March 19, 2013

Kurt Creager, Otak’s Housing & Community Development Director, was recently invited to participate in a City of Vancouver, Washington, First Tuesday Presentation. The event, organized by the Vancouver Planning Commission, was an informational gathering to discuss “Housing for Changing Times.”

Kurt served on a panel of experts and spoke about the importance of investing in urban infrastructure such as high-capacity transit and public schools. He warned that without proper investment in these vitally important areas, “investors, homeowners, and developers will lack confidence to help build the community and create jobs.” Kurt spoke about his work at Otak with communities in Arizona, Colorado and Oregon that have invested in light rail train stations and high-capacity transit, and concluded that Vancouver must address the issue of investment certainty or “fall behind in terms of regional competitive advantage.”

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   March 15, 2013

Staff from the Vancouver, Lake Oswego/Portland, and Kirkland offices recently attended the 2013 Spring Conference for the Washington state chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA). Attendees included Tim Kraft, Rich Darland, Gwynne Berkeley, Courtney McFadden, Dan Dawson and Lori McFarland. Through her participation in the APWA Division 1 committee, Lori also helped with the preparation of two sessions related to Traffic Control and NPDES construction permits.

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   March 12, 2013

Otak International’s Rudayna Abdo, AICP, MCIP, PQP, recently chaired and presented at the three-day Future Housing Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The first day of the summit focused on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the second day focused on financing and delivery methods, and the third day, chaired by Rudayna, focused on sustainability. Rudayna and Hicham Bou Habib from Solving Efeso delivered a presentation titled “Designing for the Desired Demographic: Dissecting Housing Needs in Abu Dhabi.” They examined demographics and housing typologies and discussed the supply/demand gap and affordability issues.

Rudayna’s summary of the conference is that there needs to be a better acceptance of higher density dwelling among the nationals of the GCC and that housing must be developed as part of city and community development and not as an isolated delivery system. She stressed that housing solutions need to be found for all representatives of the population, especially lower income expatriates, and of the importance of sustainability – economic, environmental, social and cultural – as a requirement rather than an option in development. Finally, it is important to have continued meetings to evaluate and discuss the many ongoing initiatives in the region and to learn from one another at events like the Future Housing Summit.

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   March 11, 2013

The 15th Annual Johnson Creek Watershed Council Watershed-Wide Event was held, as always, on the first Saturday in March. I helped lead the Stonebridge Apartments site with Stream Team Captains from SOLVE and Matt Klym from Otak. With the help of 50 cub scouts, boy scouts and their families, we planted 250 trees, mulched  and installed protective fencing around the trees and picked up 12 bags of garbage. After the event we enjoyed lunch at Wall Street Pizza in Gresham or Pietro’s Pizza in Milwaukie. Overall, 470 volunteers attended the event in 12 different locations. The group planted 8,950 native trees and shrubs, removed 20 cubic yards of invasive plants, picked up 50 bags of garbage and moved seven yards of mulch. 

 - Submitted by Melanie McCandless

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   March 4, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce five new hires!

Michael Fadden has joined Otak as an Engineering Designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings experience in roadway and site design for a variety of municipal projects. Prior to joining Otak, Micheal worked as an EIT for the King County Department of Transportation Bridge Unit. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington.

Beth Johannessen has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to joining Otak, Beth worked for a private design studio in Arizona. Her design skills include urbanism, master planning, planting design, and graphic design. She received her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Arizona State University (ASU) . She is an Associate Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Sigma Alpha Lambda Landscape Architecture Honor Society.

Liz Sabeff has joined Otak as a GIS Coordinator working out of our office in Denver, Colorado. Liz has worked primarily in the federal sector, most recently as the BLM on-site contractor coordinating the GIS data activities for large regional-scale natural resource assessments and developing corporate GIS data standards. She has extensive GIS experience and she developed the data standard and geodatabase for the BLM Visual Resource Management system. Liz studied Physical Geography at the University of Florida.

Andrés Felipe Fajardo Lozano has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He has worked as a Landscape Architect Assistant at the Office of University Architects at ASU, where he assisted in developing site plans, perspectives, presentation documents, and other graphics. Andrés earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from ASU and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

David Breen has joined Otak as a Landscape Architect Intern working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He is currently studying Landscape Architecture at ASU and expects to graduate in 2014. David serves as Vice President of the American Society of Landscape Architects ASU Student Chapter.

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   March 1, 2013

Otak’s corporate office is moving from Lake Oswego to downtown Portland! Our new home will be the Director Building located at 808 SW 3rd Avenue, and we expect to be moved this spring. This move is an exciting opportunity for us to benefit from Portland’s creative energy and further our commitment to sustainability. Stay tuned for more information!

To learn more about our move, please click here.

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