Blog
May 2017
   May 31, 2017

On Friday, May 26, the architecture group took advantage of the beautiful weather and went on a site visit to two project sites in Southeast Portland that are currently under construction.

The team first toured a 63-unit apartment building at SE 44th and Belmont. According to Christina Kwiecienski, "There are going to be some great amenity spaces for 44th and Belmont. I’m particularly excited about the entry courtyard and rooftop community room with a view of downtown."

The team also toured a 121-unit apartment building at SE 50th and Clinton.

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   May 26, 2017

Otak’s WNR team recently conducted a tour of four constructed projects to observe results and share project experience. On Saturday May 20th, 18 WNR team members caravanned to SE Foster Road to kick off the tour with a walk through the East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project and a presentation by Kevin Timmins, PE. The City of Portland hired Otak to design a floodplain mitigation system to lessen the frequent flooding previously experienced along SE Foster Road. The project included the creation of floodplain storage area, restoration of Johnson Creek, and some stormwater management facilities at the 63.5 acre site. This project started in 2008 and was completed in 2012. (East Lents subconsulatants: Ash Creek, Nevue Ngan, NW Engineers, Reyes Engineering, and PHS)

After an alfresco breakfast in the parking lot at East Lents and the distribution of the official tour soundtrack (it’s not a WNR tour without “The Salmon Dance” by The Chemical Brothers), the group travelled to Lake Oswego to view the Rockinghorse Lane Drainage Improvements project located in Tryon Creek State Park. Access to this project involved a nice hike approximately 0.8 miles into the park, as the shorter, alternative access trail was closed due to a recent landslide. Ashley Cantlon, PE gave an overview of the project, which repaired a severely eroded drainage off the end of Rockinghorse Lane in conjunction with mitigating an active landslide. The drainage improvements project, constructed on the less than 1 acre site, was identified as a priority project by the City of Lake Oswego. This project started design in 2013 and was completed in 2015. (Rockinghorse subconsultants: Otak’s subconsultants included Pacific Habitat Services, Shannon and Wilson, AINW, and Todd Prager and Associates)

The caravan’s next stop was located in the City of Tualatin off of SW Blake Street. The Chieftain/Dakota Greenway project was contracted by the City of Tualatin to complete stream restoration work along Saum Creek in conjunction with water quality improvements to neighborhood stormwater runoff. Tour highlights included a project overview by Kevin Timmins, viewing of the constructed instream rock check dams and pools, and passing around a package of Firework Oreos (they put Pop Rock-like sprinkles in the filling!). This project started design in 2010 and was completed in 2014. (Saum Creek Subconsultants: Pacific Habitat Services)

After a hearty lunch and a round of microbrews at Industry in Tualatin, the group made their way to the final stop in the North Bethany area of northeast Washington County. Otak’s WNR team worked with Clean Water Services to create the North Bethany Stormwater Master Plan, and were excited to view the results. Josh Owens, PE kicked off this final leg of the tour with an overview of the Bethany Creek restoration work Otak completed, which daylighted a segment of the creek previously conveyed sub-surface in drain tiles. 

Tammi Connolly, PE then led the team through the adjacent single-family and multi-family developments, observing the regional water quality treatment and detention pond at North Bethany Creek, as well as many Low Impact Development Approach (LIDA) swales and planters throughout the area. (North Bethany subconsultants and contractor: Anchor QEA, Hardman Geotechnical Services, Kittleson, NEI)

Thank you to Josh Owens, our fearless tour organizer who put together a great itinerary and accompanying mixed CD for our caravanning enjoyment. It has already been decided that next year’s WNR tour soundtrack will include “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors, as well as a stop in Tigard to see the River Terrace community amenity standard in action!

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   May 12, 2017

On April 24, EcoDistricts CEO Rob Bennett spoke to nearly four dozen Otakians in our Portland office, outlining innovative techniques that Otak’s planners and architects can use in reimagining how to build cities that will best serve humans around the world in the 21st Century.

In his presentation, Rob explained EcoDistricts Protocol, a framework for achieving people-centered, economically vibrant, planet-loving neighborhood sustainability. Application of EcoDistricts Protocol tools, guidance, and rigorous performance requirements results in projects achieving EcoDistricts Certified standing, a mark of global sustainability excellence. Otak joined EcoDistricts earlier this year to support their global mission of developing sustainable cities and neighborhoods.

Bennett remarked on how well Otak’s values and goals aligned with EcoDistricts Protocol. “There is clear alignment between our organizations,” Bennett said. “The Otak gang understands that the future of city building requires a new model of collaboration, performative design and measuring impact. I look forward to the ways that EcoDistricts can support Otak’s pursuit of our common vision and goals to build vibrant, thriving places where we all want to work and live.”

EcoDistricts currently offers services supporting 16 projects across North America, with several in locations where Otak has offices (e.g., Portland’s Lloyd District, Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood). EcoDistricts provides expertise in the areas of green building, green infrastructure, urban planning, and community development, and offers urban development professionals classes in sustainability best practices, leading to their Accredited Professional (AP) credential.

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   May 3, 2017

On April 22nd, the Oregon State University Concrete Canoe team competed with other Pacific Northwest at the 2017 ACEC Pacific Northwest Student Conference.The team placed Second Place overall!

1st in technical paper
1st in oral presentation
3rd in paddling races
5th in final product

Otak is a proud sponsor of the Concrete Canoe team. Congrats and Go Beavs!
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