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November 27, 2017

November 15 was a day to remember. Otak advanced into the future, unveiling our new brand to the entire company. The rebrand, which includes Otak and its divisions Day CPM and Loris, involves a complete redesign of company logos, typefaces, and collateral material (resumes, financial sheets, etc.). The new logo will grace everything from letterheads to company trucks. 

The logo is designed to “represent Otak’s foundational benefit to our clients – a convergence of people, disciplines, services, and companies moving toward a common horizon.” 

Soon to follow the rebrand will be the unveiling of our new website.

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September 27, 2017

On September 23, Otak’s Portland office held their company picnic at Willamette Park. Both the weather and the location were perfect, complete with food carts from Bunk and Koi Fusion, a covered picnic area, a playground, and space for the Otak Olympics. The Willamette River was smooth as glass, perfect for kayaking or canoeing. Many laughs were shared, and the Vantucky T-Wolves took home the gold.

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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 19, 2017

On September 16th, Vancouver Otakians held their first annual summer BBQ at Allen Hendy’s house. Allen’s garden provided a beautiful backdrop for the festivities, which included games of horseshoes, corn hole, and ladder ball. The group enjoyed dinner, provided by Hula Boys, a local restaurant, and provided some potluck items as well. Honorary four-legged Otakians, River (pictured) and Nala (not-pictured), joined in the fun. River even scored some points at corn hole, ironically for her owner’s opponent.


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June 27, 2017

Teresa Huntsinger, Alex Morton, Melanie Klym, and Ashley Cantlon volunteering at a Depave event.

On Saturday, June 24th, while many Portlanders were finding ways to beat the 100-degree heat, a few Otakians laced up their work boots and took to the pavement. As part of a Depave community project, several of Otak’s WNR team members joined with volunteers to remove approximately 2,800 square feet of asphalt from the parking lot of Faithful Savior Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland. The “depaving” was an initial step in the construction of a rain garden, which will help to capture and treat stormwater originating from the church’s parking lot.

Depave is a Portland-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the transformation of over-paved places to overcome the social and environmental acts of pavement. They host volunteer “work parties” as well as provide education and training about the benefits of pavement removal. Since 2008, Depave has seen the removal of over 151,000 square feet of asphalt and the creation of over 50 community greenspaces in Portland. With the help of motivated individuals, Depave has already begun expanding to other cities across the US.

To learn more about Depave or to RSVP for future Depave events, visit depave.org 

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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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April 13, 2017

Last week four Otak staff attended the 2017 Women in Leadership Symposium put on by Women Leading Water. The Keynote speaker was Jennifer Williamson, Oregon House Majority Leader. She said that overall, Oregon is doing well with female and minority political representation, but we could do better. Her message was to find issues you’re passionate about and get involved! Other sessions covered setting your path and how to overcome obstacles and rework your plan as needed, being decisive and taking charge of your life, standing up for yourself in the workplace, how to get involved in an organization you’re interested in, and practicing mindfulness.

It was a great opportunity for women from the Portland/Vancouver area to meet and learn from each other’s experiences.

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February 23, 2017

“We are excited to see that the project is functioning as designed and reducing the frequency and severity of flooding on Foster Road. It is also gratifying to see the vegetation becoming established and providing additional wildlife habitat and refuge.” - Melanie Klym, PE

To view KOIN's article and video click here

For project details click here.

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February 22, 2017

On Saturday, February 18, Doug Beyerlein, senior hydrologist in Otak’s Everett office, ran the USA Track & Field (USATF) 50K Trail Championships on the trails in the Sierra foothills near Auburn, California. Doug won his age group with a time of 7 hours, 19 minutes. This is his second national championship, having previously won his age group at the USATF Trail Half Marathon Championships in October, 2016.

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February 14, 2017

 

Otak was proud to sponsor the 16th Annual Stream Restoration Symposium in Stevenson, WA last week. 

The annual symposium is a gathering of all the various river restoration practitioners in the Northwest to share knowledge and explore project opportunities. Gary Wolff, a Senior Hydraulic Engineer from the Portland office, facilitated a session on Stream Restoration in the Built Environment. Morgan Haines, an Engineering Designer from the Vancouver office, led the discussion during the Young Professionals luncheon. 

Other Otak attendees included Ashley Cantlon, Melanie Klym, Kathy Mai, and Michael Rafferty from Portland, Ryan Makie from Vancouver, and Dave Stewart from Redmond.

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January 21, 2017

ACEC Washington presented Otak with three Engineering Excellence awards on January 20.

In the category of Unique or Innovative Applications, Otak was given a Gold Award for our Willapa Hills Trail Bridge Replacement project in Willapa Hills State Park. 

Along the trail within Willapa Hills State Park are numerous stream and river crossings. In 2007, a devastating flood destroyed two trestles, sending the center steel truss spans downriver. 

The alternatives analysis started after the survey, geotechnical investigation, hydraulic analysis, and environmental reconnaissance were completed. Ten bridge options were studied for each site, and after review, it was determined that a clear span bridge was the preferred option. The solution was a bridge with side steel trusses with post-tensioning tendons inside a grouted duct, which was installed inside a HSS bottom chord.

Both bridges were a success!

Otak was also awarded two Bronze Awards. 

Dungeness River Railroad Trestle Replacement project in Sequim—This is a 750-foot long pedestrian bridge—designed, permitted, and constructed all within eight months. The river and resulting habitat enhancement are a success for the native salmon. The Tribe, the local community, and trail users were extremely pleased.

Bucklin Hill Bridge & Estuary Enhancement project for Kitsap County—This project included replacing roadway embankment and two 72-inch culverts with a 240-foot three-span bridge, widening the road to five lanes, traffic signals, roadway and pedestrian lighting, storm drainage improvements, and amenities for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

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January 20, 2017

 

Otak was well represented at the annual ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards banquet on Wednesday evening (January 18th) at the Multnomah Athletic Club in downtown Portland. In attendance were members of Otak’s staff, the City of Lake Oswego, and Clark Regional Wastewater District, all of whom were there to support two projects that had been submitted for awards.

 

The Rockinghorse Lane Drainage Improvements and Landslide Stabilization project was submitted by Otak’s Portland office as the prime consultant selected to work with the City of Lake Oswego to repair a highly degraded drainage outfall and adjacent landslide. ACEC honored us with the Small Project Award for our efforts. The project required a careful balance of environmental permitting, thoughtful civil and water resource engineering design, and geotechnical consultation. Ultimately, the project installed approximately 300 feet of fused HDPE pipe to convey stormwater through the steepest topography, created 250 feet of open channel, repaired the State Park’s trail crossing, and constructed a large shear key to buttress the slide that included 1,500 tons of stone embankment.

 

The Tenny Creek Slide Emergency Repair project was submitted by Otak’s Vancouver office, and included stabilizing and repairing the broken sewer line, moving the creek laterally and reconstructing the slide area, providing a streambed design that met fish passage requirements, and restoring the area with upland plantings as it is in a habitat buffer area.  We were given an Honor Award for our this project.

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November 30, 2016

Doug Beyerlein, Otak senior hydrologist, ran the Seattle Marathon on Sunday, November 27. This was his 11th Seattle Marathon and 114th marathon overall. Doug finished in a time of 3 hours, 43 minutes and placed 348th overall (1,498 finishers) while winning his age division.

Following the race Doug was in good spirits, but said that he was very tired.

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October 28, 2016

Congratulations to Melanie Klym, PE, ENV SP, Otak Water Resources Engineer, for her 2016 Women of Vision award, which she received based on her commitment to the natural environment, water resources design work, and community involvement.

She has completed many stream and wetland projects that have won design awards, so it was no surprise to us that she would be selected for such a high honor. Recently, Melanie led a team of six Otak staff to relocate U.S. 20 from Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville. The project replaced a 10-mile segment of old U.S. 20 in Lincoln County with a 5.5-mile segment that will be straighter with wide shoulders and passing lanes.

Thanks for all your hard work, Melanie, and once again, congratulations.

Melanie with her Women of Vision award

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October 20, 2016

Ashley Cantlon, PE, LEED AP BD+C, ENV SP, a Senior Water Resources Engineer in Otak’s Portland office, was awarded the Young Leader Award from the Oregon chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA)!  An awards banquet was held on October 14 in Bend, Oregon.

This award recognizes and encourages young APWA members who have demonstrated an initial commitment to the profession and the Association, and show potential for future growth within the Association. The award promotes the concept that length of career does not necessarily indicate leadership abilities or potential for service. The Young Leader Award is sponsored by the Leadership and Management Committee.

Ashley was also a runner-up for the annual Gizmo Award. While not an achievement award in the traditional sense, the Gizmo (AKA Golden Knuckle) Award nonetheless is an important function of the chapter. First presented in 1987, the award has raised thousands of dollars for scholarships given by the chapter's Scholastic Foundation. Ashley narrowly lost out on the Gizmo award to Krey Younger.

Award nominations are submitted APWA peers. Here’s what the nominator had to say about Ashley and her great work:

“Ashley is a role model for young professionals at Otak and within the community through her design work at Otak, affiliation with APWA, and community outreach. Ashley has 12 years of experience as a water resources engineer. She is a Professional Engineer, a LEED Accredited Professional, and an Envision Sustainability Professional. Ashley has been an APWA member for five years; she is currently an APWA board director, previously chair of the Water Resources committee and the Young Professionals committee. She recognizes the importance of attracting new talent to the engineering field and through her connections with local academic institutions she regularly meets with students and academic groups. Each summer for the past 10 years, she has donated a week of her vacation time to serve as a counselor or administrator at the Satori Summer Camp for academically and intellectually talented middle school students. At Otak, she uses projects as teaching opportunities for younger staff by reviewing designs and reports with them. Ashley is also a member of Otak’s safety and CAD coordination committees. Ashley has prepared many sustainable stormwater designs for municipalities, and her project experience includes LID and “green street” approaches in urban environments. She is continually advancing her knowledge about LID techniques related to stormwater management, so that she can advise on a variety of projects.”

Congratulations to Ashley on winning this award! We are grateful to have her at Otak.

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October 14, 2016

Please congratulate Jesse Reynolds, in our Redmond office, who recently passed his Certified Floodplain Manager exam through the Association of State Floodplain Managers. This national program recognizes continuing education and professional development that enhances the knowledge and performance of local, state, federal, and private-sector floodplain management professionals. The role of a floodplain manager is expanding due to increases in disaster losses, the emphasis on mitigation to alleviate the cycle of damage-rebuild-damage, and a recognized need for professionals to adequately address these issues. 

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October 4, 2016

Kevin Timmins rode the new US20: Pioneer Mountain to Eddyville alignment on Saturday as part of the Play on the Grade event. He checked out the drainage the Otak team designed and walked through the new elk culvert.

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September 21, 2016

Several Colorado WNR staff attended the 2016 Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium held at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado this past weekend. The conference included field trip touring the North St. Vrain watershed, starting at the upper reaches at the beaver ponds in Rocky Mountain National Park and ending at a reservoir near Lyons, Colorado that was severely impacted by the flooding that occurred in 2013. The theme of the conference was Connectivity in Geomorphology, and included presentations by many well-respected names in the geomorphology community, including Matt Kondolf, Stuart Lane, Gordon Grant, Gary Brierley, and Joe Wheaton.

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September 19, 2016

Otak is proud to announce that Theo Malone has recently passed his Professional Engineering exam in water resources and is now officially a professional engineer! Theo has been working with Otak's water and natural resources group since 2013. He received his engineering license in Oregon. Congratulations Theo, on reaching this important career milestone!

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September 1, 2016

Otakians Tammi Connolly, Matt Klym, Gary Wolff and Melanie McCandless helped to clean up Johnson Creek on August 29th.

105 volunteers worked in the creek to remove 269 bags of trash and lots of larger items that didn't fit into bags. By removing trash, water quality and habitat conditions improve for the wildlife including Steelhead and Chinook salmon that call the creek home. The clean-up extended from the creek’s confluence with the Willamette River up through I-205 in Portland.

After the clean-up volunteers enjoyed a barbecue and awards ceremony at Mill Park where the Golden Garbage Can award for strangest item found was given to team captain Paul for the child’s pegasus costume. Runners-up included a bowling ball on a chain, a slingshot, and complete apartment furnishings (desk, chair, toilet, bed, and countertop stove).


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August 4, 2016

The Discovery Corridor Wastewater Transmission System (DCWTS) is Clark Regional Wastewater District’s 20-year, multi-phase program to provide for the conveyance of wastewater from the Ridgefield Urban Growth Area to the Salmon Creek Wastewater Management System. This project increases Ridgefield’s wastewater capacity and supports future economic development and growth in our region.

Otak helped the City of Ridgefield study wastewater treatment and conveyance options for more than six years, including performing studies to determine the best route, projecting population and flow, and determining the best connection point in Ridgefield. We developed an engineering report that met Washington Department of Ecology standards, as well as 30 percent plans and a design report. Otak led the team that developed construction documents for Phase 1 of the DCWTS. This $25 million project includes upgrades to two pump stations, construction of two new pump stations, and construction of eight miles of a 14- to 16-inch force main. 

After more than a decade of planning and two years of construction, the first phase of this major project connecting Ridgefield junction to the Salmon Creek Treatment Plant held a grand opening on Wednesday! The event was well attended.

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July 29, 2016

On July 22nd, Bucklin Hill Road NW in Silverdale WA was opened after an almost 13-month closure to replace the old two-lane roadway embankment with a new four-lane bridge! 

The community turned out in large numbers to celebrate with local dignitaries and the residents of the adjacent Crista Shores Senior Living Community as they cut the ribbon and crossed the bridge.

The residents weren’t the only ones to benefit from this crossing – salmon and other estuary inhabitants now have free passage under the 240-foot, three-span bridge allowing the restoration of natural functions to the long-blocked passage of Clear Creek. Increased numbers of fish and macroinvertabrates have already been documented along with recent sightings of additional bird species.

Before

After

The project also improved vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, with new lanes, better sidewalks, improved grades and accessible routes for all.

Before

After

Gray skies and threats of rain couldn’t dampen our fun. Having worked on the project since 2010, Otak’s team was almost as excited as this guy!

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May 20, 2016

“Otakians Tim Ervin, Trista Kobluskie, and Melanie McCandless braved the rain for the East Portland Sunday Parkways on May 15. The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services invited Otak along with several other community partners to have booths at the Foster Floodplain Natural Area to provide environmental education opportunities. Otak’s booth featured a stream simulation table which demonstrates how rivers respond to common engineering practices such as large wood structures and boulders. Many participants, especially children, built dams across the river and the flow rate through the table was increased to show the effects of flooding and dam failure. People were able to make the connection to the Foster Floodplain Natural Area and the flood mitigation design, understanding that rivers need room to flood in ways that minimize property damage.” 

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May 11, 2016

Last week at the annual Daily Journal of Commerce Top Projects awards banquet, Otak and Hamilton Construction were presented with an award!

In the category of Infrastructure, Otak was awarded Second Place for our Colorado Dam Safe Passage (now called Bend Whitewater Park) in Bend, Oregon. This project is a great example of Otak’s integrated design using our in-house planning, civil engineering and bridge design, environmental and specialty services.

Otak and Hamilton reserved a table at the banquet and were joined by our client’s Michelle Healy and Brian Hudspeth from Bend Parks and Recreation District, and two project subconsultants: John van Staveren from Pacific Habitat Services and Mike Faha from Greenworks. 

“Everyone enjoyed getting to reconnect at the table. There was a lot of laughter, reminiscing, catching up, etc.” said Nichole Hayward, of Hamilton Construction.

Our team’s design process brought together a diverse group of river stewards and stakeholders to successfully create habitat solutions while also creating the West Coast’s first “adjustable standing wave” white water kayak/surfing run. The Park is open and Bend Parks and Recreation has a live camera feed of the whitewater run on their website.

 

For project information click here

 

 

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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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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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December 10, 2015

images courtesy of Adam Simmons

The East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project (Foster Floodplain Natural Area) was designed to reduce nuisance flooding of Johnson Creek and construction finished in 2012. With recent record rainfalls, we wanted to see how the project was performing. On Monday night Johnson Creek exceeded the flood of record from 1996. The storage area filled and channel benches were activated reducing the amount of water on Foster Road. The system has proven to contain both the more frequent flood events and reduce the flooding for the less frequent larger flood events. Prior to project completion, this area would typically flood about once every two years.

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October 20, 2015

The Lake Oswego / Tigard Water Partnership recently celebrated the ribbon cutting for the Waluga Reservoir No. 2 in Lake Oswego. This project is part of an overall water system upgrade shared by the cities of Lake Oswego and Tigard to provide reliable drinking water to their citizens. Otak provided civil site design and storm system engineering on the Waluga Reservoir.
For more information on this project, visit the website:
http://www.lotigardwater.org/

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September 23, 2015

Several of Otak’s water and natural resources team members attended and presented at the biennial EWRG & APWA Sustainable Stormwater Symposium last week in Portland, Oregon. This conference focuses on the current practice of stormwater planning, design, and implementation, and was co-chaired by Otak’s Tammi Connolly with Otak as a platinum sponsor. Otak principal Kevin Timmins presented with Jadene Stensland of Clean Water Services on the T.R.U.S.T. continuous simulation software which Otak helped develop. Otak’s Trista Kobluskie also presented, joining Lori Faha from the City of Tigard to discuss the benefits of integrating stormwater management facilities into the development site plan as a community amenity. The two-day symposium was capped off by a half-day bike tour, the Bike-BMP-n’-Brew Tour, which took the group on a guided tour of local stormwater BMPs around Portland. Otak’s Rose Horton hauled a five-gallon water jug in her bike trailer to test the infiltration of some pervious pavement installations. It was a fun and informative event, and we look forward to participating in the next symposium!

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September 2, 2015

Otak's Josh Owens tests the Colorado Dam Paddle Trail project.

 

Two breweries have released a special beer with the proceeds being donated to help fund the Bend Whitewater Park project that Otak designed and is nearing the end of construction.

To read the press release, click here.

For more information about the beer, click here.

 

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August 24, 2015

Fifteen Otakians came out to defend their Kickball Without Borders championship title on Saturday, August 22nd at Glen Haven Park in Portland. After an undefeated morning, a great barbeque, and raffle, team “Shark Otak” came in second to a very deserving team with a final score of 2-3. Otak joined 13 other local A&E firms to raise money for the Portland Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, who currently have projects in Haiti, Ecuador, Honduras, and Tanzania.

 

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August 21, 2015

Two breweries have released a special beer with the proceeds being donated to help fund the Bend Whitewater Park project that Otak designed and is nearing the end of construction.

 

To read the article click here

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June 15, 2015

Otak’s stream professionals from the Portland office walked several tributaries of the Tualatin River to assess the geomorphic condition of the streams and collect baseline data prior to the planned River Terrace community development further upstream in Tigard. The geomorphic assessments involved measuring channel geometry, sampling bed material, documenting habitat and riparian characteristics, and evaluating fluvial erosion and bank instabilities. Otak worked closely with staff from the City of Tigard, and the findings of the study will inform the development of design alternatives with the goal of protecting the existing streams from degradation.

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May 13, 2015

Otakians joined over 3,000 other people to celebrate the Foster Floodplain Natural Area (formerly East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project) during this year’s East Portland Sunday Parkway. Members of our water and natural resources team ran a stream simulation table on loan from River Restoration Northwest. The stream simulation table allowed kids (and adults) to ‘play engineer’ by shaping various river forms, adding flow obstructions such as culverts and large woody debris, and building a dam or two. The table shows how rivers respond to human modifications and is an engaging way to show the value of floodplain restoration projects. Otak staff also informed visitors about the design and function of the Natural Area, which is now in its third year of vegetative maintenance. To date, the project has exceeded expectations and has prevented flooding of Foster Road.

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April 1, 2015

The Oregon Chapter of APWA held their Spring Conference at the Valley River Inn in Eugene. Otak usually hosts a booth at each APWA conference where we display photos of our recent and local projects, but due to the increasing popularity of the conference and the smaller event space this year, the exhibit spaces were full by the time Otak signed up! In lieu of a booth, Otak joined two other firms that did not receive booths to host a pizza and game evening where attendees could team up and heckle each other over a fun game of miniature golf. Otak maintains involvement in APWA through conference attendance, as well as participation in subcommittees such as Sustainability, Water Resources, and the Young Professionals Network.

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March 18, 2015

Eight Otakians joined over 400 other volunteers in the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 17th Annual Watershed-Wide Restoration Event. Volunteers worked at nine different sites throughout the watershed, planting nearly 7,000 native trees and shrubs, removing 33 cubic yards of invasive species, distributing nearly 15 cubic yards of mulch, and installing 1,000 feet of protective fencing. Tim Ervin, Ashley Cantlon, and Joe Primeau maintained plantings along the Springwater Corridor in the lower watershed; Melanie McCandless, Kevin Timmins, and Matt Klym helped install native plants and remove invasive species in the middle watershed just upstream of the Foster Floodplain Natural Area; Michael Rafferty installed native trees and shrubs near the confluence of Hogan Creek in the upper watershed; and Gary Wolff photographed volunteers at Tideman-Johnson Park in the lower watershed. Melanie McCandless has been volunteering with the Council since 2008 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2013.

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March 17, 2015

Otak’s Liz Gilliam recently volunteered with the Nature Conservancy at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge! The volunteers worked to restore a parcel of land back to a native habitat by planting 250 black cottonwood, 275 Oregon ash, 550 red-osier dogwood, 200 Pacific ninebark, and 250 Cascara.

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March 3, 2015

Last month, Otak’s Joshua Owens visited the Colorado Avenue Dam Safe Passage project site in Bend, Oregon, to inspect construction. This project will provide a passage over the existing dam via three channels, one for habitat, one for whitewater recreation, and a “safe passage” option for recreation without rapids. Joshua, a water resources engineer, visited the site with Jason Carey, principal river engineer at River Restoration, the Colorado-based firm that designed the whitewater and habitat channels. In Stage 2 of the project, water is diverted into the future habitat channel while the safe passage and whitewater channels are being constructed. The whitewater channel, which is being built first, will have four drops, each designed to provide a unique wave experience for kayakers and paddle boarders. Pneumatic bladders installed on the drops will be able to shape and fine-tune the waves. During the visit, boulders were selected and placed for drops two and three in the whitewater channel to ensure that they are built as designed.

To learn more about this project and view a time-lapse video of construction, please click here.

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March 3, 2015

Melanie McCandless, Engineering Intern from Otak’s Portland Water and Natural Resources group, was invited by Tom Szymoniak to speak at Portland State University. She shared her experiences in water resources engineering with 40 students in an Introduction to Civil and Environmental Engineering course. Melanie highlighted Otak’s interdisciplinary approach to water resource management, touching on examples of sustainable stormwater, flood mitigation, and habitat enhancement design. She emphasized the importance of organization and communication to succeed as a consultant, providing examples of reports and memoranda she has written during her three years at Otak. The students were engaged and asked great questions about the work environment, opportunities for additional training, and advice on which courses they should focus their studies. Frank Dick from the City of Vancouver also had the opportunity to share his perspective as the capital program manager for wastewater services.

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March 2, 2015

Otak is pleased to welcome 14 new hires!

 Vancouver

Patrick O'Neill has joined Otak as a Bridge Engineer/Project Manager. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including long-span bridges, movable bridges, rail projects, and new and existing steel, concrete, and timber structures. His services on these projects have included design, load rating, inspection, analysis, and QA/QC. Patrick earned his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Bree Hines has joined Otak as a Project Assistant. She brings ten years of experience encompassing financial, administrative, and customer service roles, including two-and-a-half years in the A/E/C industry. Bree earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Business from Portland Community College.

 

Tempe

 Laura Martin has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional. She brings over 15 years of experience and professional skills in all areas of landscape architecture from conceptual design and visioning through design development, construction documents, and field supervision. She has worked on various large, high-end resorts and hotels, as well as multifamily and institutional projects in the United States and Mexico. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Morelos State University in Mexico.

 

Redmond

 Brent Deets has joined Otak as a Bridge Engineer. Prior to joining Otak, he worked for five years as a Senior Structural Engineer at a private engineering firm where he specialized in bridge design. He earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of Southern California, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Richmond.

 Shannon Gray, LEED AP BD+C, has joined Otak as a water resources engineering designer. She brings over five years of experience in sustainability, water resources, and engineering, and she has worked on a variety of site development and street improvement projects. She possesses a strong background in roadway drainage, urban stormwater design, hydraulic analysis, and flood mitigation. Shannon earned her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado, and her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from College of Charleston.

 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Bernie Viloria has rejoined Otak as a Highway Design Manager. He has over 24 years of experience in the field of engineering with an emphasis on highway design. He has extensive experience in the design of interchanges, roadways, internal roads, drainage, and street lighting. Bernie earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from St. Louis University, and he has been working in the United Arab Emirates for almost 20 years.

 

Portland


Glen Bolen, AICP, has joined Otak as a Senior Planner. He brings 20 years of planning experience in Oregon and nationally. He has a proven record of success on planning projects ranging from small area urban design plans to city comprehensive plans, as well as multi-jurisdictional regional programs. He specializes in land use, transportation planning, and urban development. Glen earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon.

Brian Burby has joined Otak as Vice President/Business Development Director. He has led numerous sales efforts from strategic sales assignments to smaller “sustainer” projects. He also brings experience coaching and mentoring sales and business development staff on sales processes and tools. Brian earned his Master of Science degree in Environmental Biology from Ohio State University, and his Bachelor of Art degree in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Amy DuBoff has joined Otak as a Senior Marketing Coordinator. She brings seven years of experience in proposal preparation and marketing coordination. At her previous firm, she wrote and edited proposal content, solicited and coordinated information from internal team members and consultants, and managed an opportunity database. Amy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Portland State University.

 

Denver


Blair Vajda, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager. She brings nearly ten years of experience in water resource engineering with a special focus on restoring the natural function of stream ecosystems using an integrated approach of science and engineering. Blair earned her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering - Hydraulics from Colorado State University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Cornell University. She is currently the President of the Colorado Riparian Association.

Julie Ash, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager. Prior to joining Otak, she served as Engineering Group Director of a multidiscipline water and natural resources team that specialized in water resources, particularly river corridor restoration. Julie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Rachel Williams has joined Otak as a Water Resources Engineering Designer. She brings experience supporting a multidiscipline team with a range of hydraulics, sediment transport, and design tasks. She has developed and updated 1D hydraulic models for existing design conditions on different streams, and she has assisted on designs for bank stabilization, habitat improvement, and flood mitigation. Rachel earned her Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Resources Engineering.

Luke Swan has joined Otak as a Senior Geomorphologist. He brings nine years of experience in flood and watershed planning, river restoration, geomorphic process modeling, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, GIS, and remote sensing. Luke earned his Master of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from Central Washington University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Ohio University.

Tracy Emmanuel has joined Otak as a Geomorphologist. She is experienced in geomorphic stream corridor assessments, sediment budgets, sediment transport and scour analyses, and large-scale stream inventories. She has worked on numerous multidisciplinary teams and is knowledgeable in one- and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling, channel and bank stabilization design, fish habitat design, and riparian revegetation.

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February 23, 2015

Otak’s Theo Malone has recently been elected president of the Portland chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Theo is a Water Resources Engineering Designer in our Vancouver, Washington, office, and he has been volunteering with EWB since 2010. EWB-USA Portland Professionals has four international programs: a water and sanitation program in Ecuador, another water and sanitation program in Haiti, a solar program in Tanzania, and a new stormwater drainage program in Honduras. Theo is involved in the new Honduras project, which involves assessing a community’s need for river crossing to provide safe passage for foot traffic throughout the community. The chapter will travel on their first assessment trip in June. Congratulations, Theo!

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February 11, 2015

Members of Otak’s Water & Natural Resources group recently attended the 14th Annual River Restoration Northwest Symposium at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington. The symposium draws approximately 500 restoration practitioners, including engineers, biologists, planners, and regulatory staff, to exchange knowledge and techniques in restoration practice. Otak was a Gold Sponsor this year, and we displayed several of our natural systems projects at our booth. The Portland office was represented by Kevin Timmins, Liz Gilliam, Michael Rafferty, Melanie McCandless, and Gary Wolff. Seungjin Baek represented the Redmond office, and Luke Swan flew in from Colorado. Gary Wolff is an active RRNW Board member, and he coordinated the Monday short courses and the Friday field trip.

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January 27, 2015

Last Friday night at their annual awards banquet, ACEC Washington presented Otak with an award!

 In the category of Social, Economic, and Sustainable Design Considerations, Otak was given a Silver Award for our Northeast Redevelopment Area (NERA) Regional Infiltration Facilities and Miller Creek Enhancements in Burien, Washington. This project is a great example of integrated design, involving our WNR, PAD, and TIS groups.

Otak and the City of Burien have created a unique stormwater management system for the City’s Northeast Redevelopment Area. This project will lead to a faster redevelopment of an area impacted by airport operations. The system utilizes low impact development techniques and several different types of stormwater management methods to replicate natural hydrologic processes that have been observed in the area. The project results in improved water quality and reduced stream erosion in Miller Creek and enhances wetlands in the area. Public open spaces and trails have been integrated into the stormwater facilities and airport safety needs have been accommodated in the design as well. The response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’re now making lemonade out of lemons by creating a new, compatible land use that will be a wonderful thing into the future.”
- Kamuron Gurol, Burien City Manager

“The systems save money, they produce beautiful areas, and they clean our water. It’s a real win for everybody.”
- Mark Powell, Washington Environmental Council

 

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January 8, 2015

Otak is proud to announce that Joe Primeau, Joshua Owens, and Nick Brown have recently passed their Civil Engineering exams and are professional engineers! Joshua has been working with Otak's water resources group since 2011, and both Joe and Nick have been at Otak since 2013. Joshua and Joe received their engineering licenses in Oregon, and Nick received his engineering license in California. Congratulations, Joshua, Nick, and Joe, on reaching this important career milestone!

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November 26, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome seven new hires!

Portland

Shawn Goodpaster has joined Otak as Senior Contracts Manager.  He brings an extensive background in labor and employment consultation, contract negotiation, and human resources matters in courts and before administrative agencies. Shawn earned his JD from Emory University School of Law, his MBA from the University of Louisville College of Business & Public Administration, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences.

Michael Rafferty, PE, LEED AP, has joined Otak as a Senior Water Resources Engineer/Project Manager. He brings more than 12 years of experience integrating stream restoration, geomorphology, water resources, and civil site development. He has served in project management and engineering roles on a wide variety of project types from conceptual design through construction. Michael earned his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering - Stream Restoration, Hydraulics, and River Mechanics from Colorado State University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University.

Redmond

 

Cristina Haworth has joined Otak as a Planner/GIS Technician. She brings experience with complex integrated planning and zoning initiatives at both city and neighborhood scales and has familiarity with land use and development law. Cristina earned her Master of City Planning and certificate in GIS and Spatial Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Community, Environment, and Planning from the University of Washington.

Seungjin Baek, PhD, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer. He brings over seven years of research and consulting experience with emphasis on hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and water quality modeling projects with 2D and 3D modeling. Seungjin earned his PhD and Master of Science degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.

Shelby Petro has joined Otak as a Wetlands Scientist. She brings seven years of experience in science and environmental consulting. Shelby earned her Master’s of Environmental Science and Management degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Jesse Reynolds has joined Otak as a Geospatial Planner. Jesse brings eight years of GIS/GPS experience in public and private sectors, as well as a diverse background in field work including resource grade Trimble GPS, site remediation studies, conservation biology studies in remote and mountainous areas, river resource surveys, and explosives handling via avalanche control work. Jesse earned his Master’s of Urban Planning degree from the University of Washington and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography/Geographic Information Systems from Western Washington University.

Tempe

 

Chad Hayashi has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional. Prior to joining Otak, he worked as a draftsman/CAD manager at a private architecture firm where he managed CAD file preparation, drawing review, and delivery to clients. He also developed a strong set of skills by reviewing and recognizing code compliance. Chad earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.

 

 

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November 24, 2014

Three of Otak’s Water and Natural Resources staff are teaching in Portland State University’s River Restoration Professional Certificate Program. There are five core courses in the River Restoration Professional Certificate Program, and the courses that Liz Gilliam, Kevin Timmins, and Gary Wolff are teaching include:

• EPP 221 - Introduction to River Restoration, Part I: Physical Processes
• EPP 223 - Site Evaluation and Assessment
• EPP 225 - Restoration Project Management

Liz just wrapped up her fifth year of teaching with the program, and in addition to the courses mentioned above, Kevin will be a guest speaker in the Project Management course in December, and Gary will teach Hydraulic Modeling next spring. We are proud to play a significant role in this nationally recognized program!

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November 24, 2014

Otak's office in Kirkland, Washington, has recently relocated to Redmond! After purging, packing, and moving, we are all settled in at our new address, which is:

11241 Willows Road NE
Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052

Our phone and fax numbers have not changed.

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September 10, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome 12 new hires!

Oregon/Southwest Washington

Melissa Toman has joined Otak as a job captain working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. She brings four years of experience in the design industry, and prior to joining Otak she served as the lead production member at a private architecture firm. Her responsibilities included producing design development drawings, 3D models and construction documents, and communicating with clients and consultants. Melissa earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Woodbury University in San Diego, California.

Jeremy Tamargo has joined Otak as a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. He brings extensive experience collecting urban stormwater field samples, laboratory work, producing written reports, and generating computer models. He earned his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and his certificate of advanced study in sustainable enterprise from Syracuse University and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Ben Bross has joined Otak as a project engineer working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. He brings over 15 years of experience in civil engineering, and he spent the past 10 years working for the Washington Department of Transportation as a civil engineer and construction inspector. His responsibilities included designing transportation and infrastructure; preparing contract plans, specifications, and estimates; and coordinating multidisciplinary design groups, as well as coordination with stakeholders. Ben earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Washington State University.

Aaron Richard has joined Otak as a recruiter/HR generalist working out of our corporate office in Portland, Oregon. He has been working in the human resources field for the past 14 years.

Jeffrey Sherman has joined Otak as a landscape architect working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He brings experience in urban design, land planning, open space planning, transportation, transit, and multidisciplinary projects. Prior to joining Otak, Jeffrey owned and operated an award-winning urban design and landscape architecture firm while simultaneously owning, operating, and managing a major manufacturer of urban street and transit furniture. He earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona, and he studied architecture at the University of La Salle in Mexico City.

Richard Johnson has joined Otak as a project architect working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He brings 27 years of project experience working on the planning and design of new and re-use projects for public, commercial, educational, and healthcare clients. His experience includes working directly with clients, contractors, and design teams throughout all phases of project development. Richard earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona, and he is a registered architect in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Skyler Flood has joined Otak as a landscape design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He is well-versed in research, drafting plans, and both hand-rendering and 3D modeling programs. Skyler recently earned his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University, and he is active in the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Geoff Brady has returned to Otak as a landscape design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Geoff brings extensive experience in landscape design and GIS analysis. His specialties include desert-adapted and arid planting design, urban planning and design, and modeling. He has worked on a variety of projects, including master-planned communities, private residences, commercial complexes, streetscapes, and parks and community areas. Geoff earned his Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.

Puget Sound

Marina Howard has joined Otak as a civil engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. She has served as an engineering intern at Clackamas County, as well as private engineering firms. Marina earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University, and she is a LEED Green Associate.

Abu Dhabi

Mohamed Sali Jaleelulla has joined Otak as a material inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 30 years of experience working as a materials inspector in the United Arab Emirates, and he has worked on a wide range of road, bridge, and civil engineering projects. Mohamed earned his degree in civil engineering from the Board of Technical Education in Kerala, India.

Ali Mohamed Ahmed Ali has joined Otak as an electromechanical inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 20 years of experience in electrical engineering and 11 years of experience working in the United Arab Emirates. Ali earned his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Menofia University in Egypt.

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August 27, 2014

Otakians Tammi Connolly, Liz Gilliam, Matt Klym, Hannah Marre, Melanie McCandless, and Gary Wolff participated in the 8th Annual Johnson Creek Clean-Up on August 23 in Portland, Oregon. They were part of a 140-person effort to remove trash from the lower six miles of the creek (starting at the Willamette River and going up past I-205). Over 37 tons of trash have been removed over the course of the eight Johnson Creek Clean-Ups, averaging 4.5 tons per year. Volunteers work in teams led by captains familiar with the reach of the creek and remove trash that poses a risk to wildlife and water quality.

After the morning clean-up volunteers returned to Mill Park for a BBQ and awards for the most interesting item found in the creek. Notable items this year included nearly 30 tires, one mattress, a model pirate ship, a packet of love letters, legacy media (a floppy disk and a VHS cassette), a bowling ball, an electronic dartboard, and wildlife including a Pacific lamprey and the carcass of a steelhead trout.

The clean-up is co-organized by the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, the Overland Park Coalition, and Green Lents and was supported by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services’ Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) grant. Melanie, Tammi, and Gary put in extra volunteer hours to contribute to the success of the clean-up. Melanie trained the team captains and coordinated the in-water work, Tammi wrote the successful CWSP grant application, and Gary served as event photographer.

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August 14, 2014

A group of Otakians took a field trip to active projects under construction in the North Bethany area of Washington County, Oregon, to see how their paper drawings and specifications translate to soil, concrete, and plant life. The project sites consisted of several housing development locations where Otak prepared the grading plans, street layout, stormwater design, and survey for construction, as well as a County public street. The engineers and project managers talked about their work, challenges, and lessons learned in an example of the multidisciplinary cooperation that Otak is known for.

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August 5, 2014

Tim Kraft, Water Resource Project Manager and Principal at Otak, has recently earned his PE license in Colorado. Tim has been a licensed engineer for 15 years and is also registered in Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico. With this license, Tim offers our Colorado clients extensive experience in the fields of sanitary sewer and stormwater master planning, conveyance system sizing and design, floodplain studies, stream restoration projects, water quality modeling, and hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. Congratulations, Tim!

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July 18, 2014

Otak’s Water Resources Engineer, Tammi Connolly, PE, ENV SP, has recently passed her Water Rights Examiner Exam! Certified Water Rights Examiners (CWREs) are knowledgeable of Oregon water laws and can prepare water right transfer and certification applications, take water usage measurements, and help prepare for the water needs of a growing population. Tammi is the first engineer at Otak to become a CWRE, and we are proud to offer this service to our clients. Congratulations, Tammi!

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June 10, 2014

Otak’s Michael Fadden has recently passed his PE exam! Michael is a civil engineer who has been with our Kirkland office for almost a year and a half, and he has worked on several significant projects in Washington including the East Grand Sewer System Replacement in Everett, and the 30th Street NE Area Flooding project in Auburn. Congratulations, Michael!

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June 2, 2014

Otakians Tim Kraft, Liz Gilliam, Gary Wolff, and Melanie McCandless joined others in celebrating Johnson Creek on May 22 at Reed College. Approximately 180 attendees were present for the raffle, State of the Watershed report, Riffle Awards presentations, and guest speaker Dr. Colin Thorne. Dr. Thorne spoke about the values of blue-green infrastructure in the United States and the United Kingdom and highlighted the importance of Johnson Creek in the region. Otak designed the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ East Lents Floodplain Project (now the Foster Floodplain Natural Area), which plays an integral role in flood risk management in the watershed. Melanie McCandless currently serves as the Treasurer on the Council’s Board of Directors.

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May 30, 2014

Otak’s Sara Junction Slope Stabilization project recently won an APWA Washington Project of the Year Award in the Disaster/Emergency, Less Than $5 Million category! Quinn Donnelly accepted the award yesterday at an APWA Washington Award Luncheon. Below is a brief overview of the project.

Otak led the design team tasked with the emergency roadway and embankment repair of NW 179th Street in rural Clark County. The roadway had been forced to close due to undercutting and embankment failure caused by stream bank erosion on adjacent Whipple Creek. Site assessment for use in the project design included stream characterization and hydraulic modeling. The design included a rebuilt roadway with guardrail, a new rock embankment to support the roadway and 100 feet of bioengineered stream bank protection, including large wood and wrapped soil lifts to prevent erosion, provide habitat, and minimize impact to the active stream channel. The design allowed for streamlined permitting, so that the repairs could be done promptly.

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May 22, 2014

Several Otakians had the opportunity to participate in the Pole Pedal Paddle event on May 17, in central Oregon. The Turkish Delight team was a pairs team, and Natural Disasters and McCurry’s Harem participated in the team category. The alpine leg begins at the top of Mt. Bachelor with a handoff to the 8 km cross-country leg. Then the bike leg is next, which is a total of 22 miles and descends into Bend with one steep uphill stretch. The run leg then proceeds on a scenic trail along the Deschutes River for 5 miles with an exchange to the canoe/kayak, in which paddlers proceed along the Deschutes River for 1.5 miles. The last leg is an approximately ½ mile sprint to the finish line. It was a fantastic weekend to be with fellow Otakians, as well as former Otakians and family and friends! We look forward to the event next year!

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May 20, 2014

Otak is pleased to announce 13 new hires!

Matt Ellis is a project engineer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings eight years of experience in civil engineering working in both the public and private sectors in Idaho, Washington, and New Zealand. Prior to joining Otak, Matt worked as an engineer at the City of Woodinville, where he was project manager for various public works capital improvement projects, including pavement rehabilitation, retaining wall construction, drainage projects, and sidewalk installation. He earned his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Washington State University.

Francesca White is a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. She brings experience developing site plans, drainage plans, construction drawings, and permitting. Francesca earned her Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Hydrology, and Water Resources, as well as her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, both from the University of Washington.

Matt Scarsella is a civil engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He has worked on roadway, sewer, and sidewalk projects. Matt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University, and he is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Jon Yamashita, PLS, is a project surveyor working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. He brings decades of experience in management and land surveying. Prior to joining Otak, he served as director of surveying at a private engineering firm where he oversaw a staff of 35, including 15 licensed surveyors working throughout the western United States. Jon earned his Bachelor of Science in Geography from Portland State University, and his Associates of Arts and Sciences from Clark Community College. He is a member of the Clark County Railroad Advisory Board and is the past Chair of the Leadership Clark County Board of Directors.

Sara Qafisheh, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architectural technician working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. She brings five years of professional architectural and design experience with a focus on large high-tech projects including semiconductors, clean rooms, data centers, and government and military buildings. She also brings experience designing innovative and sustainable single family housing. Sara earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona.

Alyson Hendrix is a civil designer working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to joining Otak, she participated as a Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative and as a grader for Engineering Business Practices at Arizona State University (ASU). She recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from ASU, where she was active in Engineers Without Borders, creating an award-winning design for a local aquaponic pond project.

Madhu Jose is an architect/urban planner working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Madhu earned her Master’s in Urban Design and Sustainable Architecture from Politecnico Di Milano in Milan, Italy, and her Bachelor of Architecture from Siddaganga Institute of Technology in Bangalore, India.

Nazeer Abdul Rahiman is a quantity surveyor working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He has 25 years of experience of which 15 years are in the UAE. He provides estimating and costing on a variety of projects including roads, construction, stormwater, sewerage networks and treatment plans, irrigation networks, bridges, and high-rise buildings. He earned his degree in Civil Engineering from the Kerala State Board of Technical Education in India.

Tariq Osman is a material engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He is a seasoned geological engineer with 24 years of experience in material testing for steel, concrete, cement, asphalt, and soil. He possesses sound knowledge of geology and petroleum engineering, as well as drilling techniques, pressure transient analysis, and enhanced oil recovery. Tariq earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in geology from the University of Poona in India.

Imtiaz Ahmed is a material inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 33 years of experience on a wide range of construction projects. His experience includes construction supervision, reviewing material submittal, material testing and inspection, and inspecting and monitoring laboratory test processes and results. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Karachi University in Pakistan.

Mamdouh Zedan is a resident engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 21 years of experience in road and bridge construction in the Middle East. His responsibilities have included reviewing drawings and technical reports, site inspections, and maintaining records of progress and materials approval. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Mansoura University in Egypt, and he is a member of the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate.

Mookran Mithran is a land surveyor working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings over 34 years of experience working in the UAE on large multifamily developments and infrastructure projects. Mookran earned a diploma in civil engineering.

Benjamin Bandola is an engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings more than 20 years of experience in management and technical engineering in various fields including construction, maintenance, and manufacturing. Benjamin earned both his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and his Bachelor of Science in Management and Industrial Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines, and he is a member of the Society of Engineers UAE, Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, Overseas Filipino Civil Engineers Association, and Philippine Society of Safety Professionals.

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May 9, 2014

Otak participated in the Oregon Chapter APWA Spring Conference, which took place in Seaside late last month. Otak’s booth included photo panels of recent and ongoing projects in Oregon, many of which were located on the Oregon coast. Otak showed its continued support and involvement in APWA through our attendees who were active participants in the Sustainability Committee, Water Resources Committee, Young Members Network, and the First-Timer program, all of which are ongoing efforts outside of the conference. This event kicked off the 50-year-anniversary celebration for the Oregon Chapter, which will continue at the Fall Conference in Pendleton.

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April 29, 2014

Saturday, April 26, was SOLVe’s 25th Annual SOLVE-IT Earth Day event! Over 6,500 volunteers at 175 sites throughout Oregon worked together to improve environmental health. Otak’s Melanie McCandless led a group of 15 Portland State University students in a clean-up of green street facilities in the Lents Town Center. The green street facilities were installed in 2013 as part of the Streetscape Improvement project. Green streets manage stormwater quantity and quality, using biofiltration to slow down and treat the water before it discharges to Johnson Creek. The students removed approximately 60 pounds of trash and debris from the facilities and cleared inlets of accumulated sediment. The clean-up was a partnership with Green Lents, where Melanie serves as the Watershed Team leader; SOLVe; and the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Green Street Stewards Program.

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April 17, 2014

Otak is committed to both sustainable business practices and sustainable project designs. Several Otakians in our Vancouver office recently received Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) certification, and 12 of our 16 technical staff members in Vancouver are now certified in Envision or LEED. These certified professionals help our clients and project teams achieve higher levels of sustainable design. Our certified staff in Vancouver include:

Ryan Billen, PE, ENV SP
Nick Brown, ENV SP
Derek Chisholm, AICP, LEED Green Associate, ENV SP
Rich Darland, PE, ENV SP
Grant Evenhus, PE, ENV SP
David Haynes, PLA, LEED Green Associate
Tim Kraft PE, ENV SP
Cory Kratovil, PE, ENV SP
Theo Malone, ENV SP
Hannah Marré, ENV SP
Greg Mines PE, ENV SP
Kelly Youngberg, ENV SP

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March 25, 2014

Over the past two weekends, Otakians Kelly Youngberg, Katie Kersten, Tim Ervin, Joe Primeau, Matt Klym, Melanie McCandless, and Hannah Marre have joined other volunteers in helping Green Lents enhance two bioswales in Portland’s East Lents neighborhood.

Over the years, weeds had invaded the bioswales, and in 2010 Green Lents canvassed over 300 homes in the area to assess knowledge of the swales and their purpose and to gauge interest in enhancing the swales with native plants. Three enthusiastic homeowners agreed to take part in the pilot project, and Green Lents worked with the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Sustainable Stormwater Group to develop a planting plan for the bioswales with plants that could thrive in the fast-draining environment while offering a wide range of bloom times to offer year-round support to pollinators. The swales will be monitored for two years with results contributing to a revised planting plan for other homeowners interested in enhancing their swales.

Green Lents is an all-volunteer nonprofit with a mission to provide education, volunteering, and leadership opportunities in and around the Lents neighborhood to provide a thriving, sustainable community. Melanie McCandless is the Watershed Team Leader and a founding Board member, and she is currently serving as Records Keeper.

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March 6, 2014

Otakians Rose Horton and Melanie McCandless participated in the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 16th Annual Watershed-Wide event on Saturday, March 1. Their efforts, combined with almost 300 other volunteers, had a tremendous positive impact on the watershed’s health. Over the course of three hours at ten sites, volunteers planted 7,760 native plants, removed six cubic yards of invasive plants, and cleaned up three bags of garbage. Volunteers celebrated their successes afterward at a pizza luncheon.

The Watershed-Wide event occurs annually on the first Saturday in March. Melanie hosted the Foster Place site as the representative Board Member and Rose participated at the Freeway Lands site just downstream of the Foster Floodplain Natural Area (formerly East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project).

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January 30, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome six new hires!

Ken Ackerman, PE, has joined Otak as a senior project manager working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. He brings over 20 years of experience in management, design, and construction of public improvement projects and private site development. He has worked in both the public and private sectors completing preliminary alignment analysis and cost estimating, roadway and trail final design, and construction management. Ken also has vast experience and training in designing roundabouts and ADA-accessible routes. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and he is a member of the American Public Works Association, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, and the 40-Mile Loop Land Trust.

Laura Kindt, PE, has joined Otak as a senior project manager working out of our office in Denver, Colorado. She brings seven years of experience as a water resources engineer working on multidisciplinary civil engineering projects throughout Colorado, California, Wyoming, Kansas, New Mexico, Michigan, Arizona, and North Dakota. She earned her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan.

Jennifer Snider has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of Otak’s office in Portland, Oregon. Jennifer has worked as a legal assistant, office manager, and administrative assistant, and she has experience in accounts payable and accounts receivable. She graduated with honors from Western Business College with a diploma in the Legal Assistant program.

Britney Child has joined Otak as a file clerk and office assistant working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Britney had been working for us on a temporary basis for three months, and prior to joining Otak, she worked for five years at a manufacturing plant in Las Vegas. She is currently pursuing a degree in childhood and family studies.

Teresa Vanich has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. She brings over 20 years of experience in the construction industry in Washington. She recently worked on the Pro-Type Data Center for Microsoft in Quincy, Washington.

Amber Swanson has joined Otak as an intern architect working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, she worked as a technical draftsperson at a private engineering firm. Amber earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and during her studies, she served as a teaching assistant aiding in first-year architecture studios and reviews.

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January 20, 2014

Otak’s East Lents Floodplain Restoration project won a 2014 ACEC Oregon Engineering Excellence Grand Award!

The ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards recognize engineering firms for projects that demonstrate a high degree of innovation, achievement, and value, and winners were announced last week at ACEC Oregon’s Engineering Excellence Awards Dinner. The Grand Award was given to six of the 20 submitted projects.

To learn more about the award-winning East Lents Floodplain Restoration, please click here.

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November 25, 2013

The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services added an interesting video about the opening of Otak’s Foster Floodplain Natural Area project. In an e-newsletter about the project, City of Portland Commissioner Nick Fish wrote:

“This is one of the many ways we are using cost-effective natural solutions to manage stormwater. The additional community dividend: a treasured place for East Portland families to relax, walk the trail, and watch wildlife.”

To learn more about Otak’s involvement in the Foster Floodplain Natural Area, please click here.

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November 25, 2013

Nine volunteers braved the cold winds to enhance a green street in Portland’s Lents neighborhood. Otakians Kelly Youngberg and Matt Klym joined fellow Otakian Melanie McCandless’ group, Green Lents, to add native plants to a previously weed-infested infiltration basin. The facilities were installed in 2006 as part of a street improvement project. The swale enhancement project has been in the works for over two years as Green Lents negotiated with Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services for permission to do the work – the first of its kind in Portland to retrofit existing facilities. After extensive canvassing to identify neighbor interest, three swales along SE Yukon Street were selected for the pilot project enhancement. The plants will improve water quality, enhance aesthetics, and support native pollinators. Two more swales will be planted in Spring 2014 and will kick off a pollinator monitoring study during the summer. 

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November 5, 2013

Otak was an exhibitor at this year's APWA Oregon Fall Conference located in Bend. Engineers Joe Primeau, Ashley Cantlon, Kevin Timmins, and Gary Alfson represented Otak at our booth, in technical sessions, and in extracurricular activities. Joe organized and ran the First-Timers program for first-time conference attendees, Ashley chaired the Water Resource Committee Meeting, and Kevin gave a one-hour technical presentation titled "Introduction to the Envision Rating System". The conference was a great opportunity for Otak to remind various agencies of our ability and desire to assist them with their projects. We look forward to the next APWA conference!

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November 4, 2013

Otak is pleased to welcome four new hires!

Sandrine Ganry, PE, is a civil engineer working with the water resources group in our Portland, Oregon, office. She brings 11 years of experience in civil engineering design, primarily in public works projects. She has extensive experience in the preparation of construction plans, bid documents, construction cost estimates, and construction management. Sandrine earned her Master of Civil Engineering in Water Resources from the University of Montpellier in Montpellier, France, and she is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Tom Green, PE, is a civil engineer working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He brings eight years of experience working as an engineer in both the public and private sectors. He has managed project teams to develop civil improvement plans for commercial and residential projects and engineered subdivisions of master-planned communities. Tom earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.

Kelly Youngberg, EIT, is a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. She is experienced withdesign, analysis, and construction management. Kelly is skilled in hydraulic and hydrologic modeling and the analysis of stormwater systems. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Portland.

Lara Holimon has joined Otak as a GIS Intern working out of our office in Denver, Colorado. She has experience working as a GIS analyst for the University of Florida and as a CAD operator for a private architecture firm. Lara earned her Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning and her Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Sociology from the University of Florida. She is a member of GIS Colorado.

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October 29, 2013

Otak has been a financial supporter of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (LCEP) for many years, and earlier this month, Otak sponsored a table for LCEP's annual art auction and gala. The event brought together individuals from the policy, public, and scientific communities and highlighted the important environmental and educational work that LCEP conducts throughout the year. Otak recognizes the importance of the Lower Columbia for our communities and our environment, and we are delighted to support LCEP's efforts to protect and restore nature and clean water for future generations of fish, wildlife, and people.

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October 28, 2013

Following the depaving of the St. Mary Ethiopian Orthodox Church parking lot last month, approximately 30 volunteers joined Melanie McCandless and John Notis of Green Lents in creating a rain garden and peripheral planting areas. Prior to the project, the only green space on the church lot was a small bed at the south end. The addition of over 500 native plants will improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat and aesthetic enhancement.

The central rain garden will allow water to soak into the ground rather than flooding the church and the rain garden will treat the water before it enters nearby Johnson Creek. The plantings along the edge of the parking lot will reduce the amount of runoff reaching the rain garden while providing a screen between the church and neighboring properties.

This project was a partnership between Depave, Green Lents, and the Johnson Creek Watershed Council and was funded by the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Community Watershed Stewardship Program.

There will be a rain garden celebration in Spring 2014. For more information, contact Melanie McCandless at melanie@greenlents.org.

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September 26, 2013

Otak is pleased to welcome seven new hires!

Liz Gilliam has joined our office in Portland, Oregon, as a senior geomorphologist. She has been active in geomorphic studies, both on-the-ground measurements and decision-making, for many years. She brings more than a decade of practical experience in project development, management, implementation, and innovative technical analyses. She has been an adjunct professor in Portland State University’s Environmental Professional Program since 2009. Liz earned her Master of Science degree in Geomorphology from Colorado State University and she double majored in Geology and Geography/GIS from Western Michigan University.

Lorna Dominguez has joined our Denver, Colorado, office as a project assistant. She brings over 12 years of administrative and marketing experience, having led several successful proposal efforts on large projects in California and Colorado for private firms. Lorna earned her Master of Arts in Education, Pupil Personnel Services - Guidance Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and her Bachelor of Science in English Education from eastern Montana College.

Trista Kobluskie has joined our Vancouver, Washington, office as a stormwater planner. She is an experienced project manager and administrator in both government and the private sector, with strong knowledge of the Phase I Western Washington Municipal Stormwater Permit, as well as Clark County’s stormwater compliance program and MS4 infrastructure management. She wrote the 2010 Clark County Stormwater Management Plan, the first of its kind for a Phase I municipal stormwater permittee in Washington. Trista earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Drew University and received graduate instruction in GIS from Portland State University.

John Longbotham has joined our Kirkland, Washington, office as a civil engineering intern. He is a certified Engineer-in-Training currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Seattle University. His previous work experience includes an internship with the City of Woodinville Public Works Department.

Joni Lund has joined our Kirkland, Washington, office as a CAD technician. She has served as a CAD drafter, engineering technician, and CAD project manager for engineering firms in Washington and Texas and had been working at Otak as a temporary employee for the past few months. Joni earned her Associate of Arts in Technical Arts and Civil Engineering from Bates Technical College.

Melissa Johnson has joined our Portland, Oregon, office as a strategic planning manager. She brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, and organizational development. She earned her Master of Arts in Organization Design and Renewal from Seattle University and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Western Washington University. Melissa is a Certified Professional Services Marketer and has received her Living Systems Theory and Application Professional Development Certification. She is the past Oregon Chapter President of the Society for Marketing Professional Services and she is a member of the Organizational Development Network and Degrees of Transition, LLC, Advisory Board.

Tim Ervin has joined our Portland, Oregon, office as a project assistant. Prior to Otak, Tim served as a project administrator/project management assistant at an engineering firm, where he was responsible for document control, quality management and reporting, proofing construction documents and drawings, and office management. He also brings more than a decade of project management experience in publishing and is a LEED Green Associate. Tim earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications Design from California State University, Chico, and his Associate of Applied Science in Construction Project Management from Portland Community College - Rock Creek.

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September 10, 2013

A few of Otak’s water resources engineers joined the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation to lead a tour of our East Lents Floodplain Restoration project - now known as the Foster Floodplain Natural Area.

To learn more about the tour and view the tour brochure, please click here.

To learn more about this project, please click here.

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August 28, 2013

Water and Natural Resources staff Gary Wolff, Theo Malone, Tammi Connolly, and Melanie McCandless got dirty for a good cause last Saturday in the 6th Annual Johnson Creek Clean-Up.  Over 100 volunteers were in the creek to remove trash from I-205 to the confluence with the Willamette River. Theo jumped into the challenging reach downstream of SE 82nd Avenue, and Tammi helped wrestle debris into the trailer for disposal. Gary served as event photographer, and Melanie co-organized the event with Amy Lodholz of the Johnson Creek Watershed Council and Norbert Loske of the Overland Park Coalition.

Over the past six years volunteers have removed over 30 tons of trash from the creek. Fortunately, this year continued last year’s trend of decreased trash loads – Johnson Creek is getting cleaner each year. Volunteers removed debris in the morning and celebrated in Mill Park afterward with a BBQ and award ceremony. The team of volunteers that found the oddest item in the creek won the Golden Trashcan, and the Dirty Olympics recognized the top three dirtiest volunteers with the bronze, silver, and gold soap-on-a-rope.

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August 1, 2013

Otak staff recently attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Woodburn Interchange and Transit Facility Project. The reconstructed and improved interchange and the transit facility will serve the City of Woodburn and improve safety and operations for I-5 travelers. Otak had a significant role in this project. Our work began with a re-evaluation of an earlier Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Environmental Assessment.  That effort was followed by a Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions community engagement process and a final design role in the following project elements:
 
• Evergreen Transit/Park-and-Ride facility
• Evergreen Road extension
• Aesthetic enhancements for reconstructed interchange over I-5
• Aesthetic enhancements for sound walls
• Stormwater management
• Landscape and irrigation design
 
The project will be completed in 2016, and Otak will provide construction services in support of ODOT staff until completion. If you want to know more about the project, check out the ODOT project website, which features a number of our concept design illustrations:

www.woodburnInterchange.com

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July 22, 2013

Russ Gaston, PE, and Ryan Hawkins, PE, of Otak's Kirkland Water and Natural Resources group were recently invited to give a presentation on innovative stormwater management techniques to the Growth Management Policy Board (GMPB) of the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC). The GMPB includes council members, mayors and other representatives of regional cities and counties, businesses, labor, civil and environmental groups. Russ and Ryan presented options for encouraging cost-effective and sustainable stormwater management for urban infill development. The presentation was followed by a question and answer period with questions fielded from numerous interested representatives of cities and counties across Puget Sound. The GMPB contacted Otak after calling several local city public works directors and hearing Otak's name come up several times as being a leader in the field.

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July 17, 2013

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) 2013 Conference was held in Hartford, Connecticut, from June 9-14th this year. Greg Laird, a principal in the Water and Natural Resources Group, and Meg Olson, a water resources design analyst, from the Kirkland office attended the conference. The conference included sessions on green infrastructure, innovative state floodplain management and mitigation efforts, modeling, and dam and levee management, and a main topic of interest was the effects of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act on the National Flood Insurance Program. After passing the exam at the conference, Greg became Otak’s newest Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM). The CFM certification recognizes training and continuing education in floodplain management and flood loss reduction. Meg presented a paper on the 2008 biological opinion on the National Flood Insurance Program in Washington state in the 3rd Annual ASFPM student paper competition, and won first place! Greg and Meg are both looking forward to the 2014 ASFPM Conference, which will be held in Seattle. Greg is on the committee planning for the Seattle conference and is also on the International Issues and the Training and Outreach committees for ASFPM.  

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July 8, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce the following new hires working out of our offices in Washington:

Kirkland, Washington

Sheila Ranganath, PE, has joined Otak as a water resources engineer. She brings five years of experience in planning, design, and construction of water resource projects. Sheila’s areas of expertise include water resources planning studies, project designs and specifications, and bioengineering design for stream bank erosion control and habitat restoration. She earned her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science in Biological Systems Engineering, Land and Water Resources from Virginia Tech, and she is a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Nancy Acton has joined Otak as a receptionist and project assistant. She brings 20 years of experience in administrative assistance and office management. Nancy earned he Associates in Arts & Sciences from Bellevue College and her Executive Assistant Certificate from the Business & Medical Training Center in Seattle, Washington.

Jessica Redman has joined Otak as a wetland scientist. She brings 11 years of multidisciplinary science experience. Prior to joining Otak, she worked as a fisheries observer and at-sea monitor in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, the Northeast Atlantic, and Hawaiian Islands. Jessica earned a Master of Arts in Marine and Environmental Policy and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Miami, and a Certificate in Wetlands Science and Management from the University of Washington.

Dave Stewart has joined Otak as a water resources engineer. He brings expertise in water resource issues including stormwater modeling, drainage design, hydrology, hydraulics, flood hazard mitigation, water quality, and sediment transport. Dave earned a Master of Science in Water Resources Engineering, Agricultural and Biosystems, from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Science in Water Resources Engineering, Biological Systems, from Virginia Tech.

Finis Ray has joined Otak as a planning intern working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings knowledge of interior design, urban design, and historic preservation, and his professional experience includes work as an urban design intern on the Nashville Civic Design Center in Tennessee. Finis earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from O’More College of Design, and he is currently pursuing his Master of Urban Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington.

Ahmed Kayanda has joined Otak as a CAD technician. Prior to joining Otak, Ahmed was a CAD Intern at a private engineering firm. He also has experience working with conservation architects for UNESCO to renovate and restore historical buildings in Zanzibar. Ahmed earned his Associates degree in Civil Engineering Graphics from Lake Washington Institute of Technology. He also earned his Associates degree in Civil Engineering from Karume Technical College in Zanzibar.

Ellen Webster has joined Otak as a civil engineering designer. She brings experience in roadway and site design for a variety of municipal projects. Prior to joining Otak, Ellen served as treasurer and build leader for the Habitat for Humanity Club and was a Honduras Project Member for Engineers Without Borders. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Portland. Ellen is currently working on projects for the cities of Redmond and Woodinville.

Liz Johnson has joined Otak as a summer intern. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Urban Planning at the University of Washington and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the College of New Jersey.

Vancouver, Washington

Theo Malone has joined Otak as a water resources engineering designer. He brings over a year of experience in site assessment, post-construction monitoring, hydrologic modeling, and field testing procedures. Prior to joining Otak, Theo worked as a Watershed Services Intern for the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. Theo earned both his Master's and Bachelor's degrees in Environmental Engineering from Portland State University where he was also involved in Engineers Without Borders.

Vicki has joined Otak as a summer engineering intern. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Vicki is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

 

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May 30, 2013

Congratulations to Ryan Hawkins for passing his PE exam! Ryan is part of our water resources team in Kirkland, Washington, and he has worked on a wide range of projects including stormwater system design, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, stream channel geomorphic and stability studies, fish passable culvert design, and designing channel and in-stream aquatic habitat improvements. We thank Ryan for putting in the time and hard work necessary for passing the PE exam, and we look forward to his continued contribution to Otak!

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May 16, 2013

Melanie McCandless is now an Envision Sustainability Professional! She is the second Otakian to earn her credentials through this program that encourages sustainability in infrastructure. Otak is an Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) Charter Member, and we appreciate Melanie taking the time and effort to further her knowledge of sustainable design. Congratulations, Melanie!

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May 7, 2013

The City of Portland celebrated the Foster Floodplain Natural Area and the kickoff to World Environment Day on Thursday, April 24. Otak’s 63-acre East Lents Restoration Project became the Natural Area when construction was completed in 2012. The celebration was attended by staff from various City bureaus, local agencies, nonprofits, and neighbors. The site was blessed by Native Americans through song and dance, and several dignitaries including Dean Marriot, Director of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services; Mike Abbate, Director of Portland Parks & Recreation; Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner; Amy Fraenkel, Regional Director of United Nations Environment Programme; and students from Kelly Elementary School. The students presented a book of poems about water to Ms. Fraenkel and read a few of their favorites. After the speeches, Maggie Skenderian (Johnson Creek Watershed Manager, Portland BES) spoke about the project’s impact in the neighborhood and the future plans for the area and led a ceremonial tree planting with students from Kelly Elementary.

Melanie McCandless planted a tree in recognition of her active participation in the community through Green Lents. Kevin Timmins led the site tour and Gary Wolff was available to answer questions about the hydraulic modeling intricacies of the project.

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April 30, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce eight new hires!

Lily Casias has joined Otak as the executive assistant to Ryc Loope, FAIA, Otak’s President and CEO. Lily brings almost ten years of experience as an executive assistant at a private firm and experience in the US Navy. Lily serves on the Portland Rose Festival Board of Directors, and she is currently a member of the Oregon Business Travelers Association and the St. Anthony Parent Teacher Association.

Kayla Gutierrez has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She brings a broad range of experience working as a project assistant, project coordinator, and administrative assistant. She has also worked in marketing, sales, and property management. Kayla attended Northwest Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State University.

Alex Walker has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, Alex worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry, providing logistical and executive-level support to field offices across the state. Alex earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts-Applied Visual Arts, Graphic Design Option from Oregon State University.

Nick Brown, EIT, has joined Otak as an engineering designer working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. Nick has nearly four years of experience in civil design and land and site development for public and private-sector projects. Nick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and he is scheduled to receive his professional engineer certification later this year.

Kjell Stendal has joined Otak as a marketing coordinator working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings four years of experience working as a proposal writer/marketing coordinator for private firms in Washington. Kjell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Washington State University.

Meg Olson, EIT, has joined Otak as an engineering designer working with our Water Resources team in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Meg worked as a designer at a private engineering firm in Washington and at the Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research at the University of Washington. Meg earned her Master of Science in Engineering – Hydrology and Water Resources, as well as her Master of Urban Planning – Land Use and Infrastructure, Environmental Planning, from the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Chris Ewing, EIT, LEED AP, is an engineering designer working with our Water Resources team in Kirkland, Washington. Chris has extensive knowledge of hydrologic modeling and experience with groundwater modeling, water distribution system modeling, and aquatic contaminant modeling. Prior to joining Otak, Chris worked as a Student Researcher at the University of Washington’s Green Futures Research and Design Lab and he spent four years working as a civil engineering designer at a private engineering firm in Washington. Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University, and he is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with emphasis on hydrology, water resources, and environmental fluid dynamics. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, and his PE license is currently pending and anticipated later this year.

Scott Garvin has joined Otak as a senior design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Scott brings 12 years of architectural and business experience to Otak, having worked for several private architecture firms. He has worked on a wide range of project types, including apartment buildings, corporate office space, and an LDS temple in Gilbert, Arizona. Scott earned his Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University, and he is currently finishing up his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Phoenix.

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April 3, 2013

Tammi Connolly, PE, is now an Envision Sustainability Professional! Envision is a joint collaboration between the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) that encourages sustainability in infrastructure. Similar to the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, Envision offers both a ratings system for infrastructure and a credentialing system for professionals. Otak is an ISI Charter Member, and we are confident that many more Otakians will join Tammi as Envision Sustainability Professionals. Congratulations, Tammi!

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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 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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February 15, 2013

Otak staff from the water and natural resources group attended the 12th Annual Northwest Stream Restoration Symposium hosted by River Restoration Northwest in Skamania, Washington. The symposium sold out with over 400 attendees from agencies, nonprofits, and private companies. Otak was a silver-level sponsor of the symposium, and we had many interesting discussions at our display booth and during meals. Presentations from professionals in the field were supplemented by short courses and a field trip, led by Gary Wolff and Kevin Timmins, to the East Lents Floodplain Restoration project. Gary Wolff serves on the Board of River Restoration Northwest and was involved with short course coordination at the symposium. Melanie McCandless assisted as a student volunteer coordinator. Other Otak attendees included Kevin O’Brien, Russ Gaston, and Ryan Hawkins.

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January 28, 2013

Three Otak projects received 2013 Engineering Excellence Honor Awards from the Oregon Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) at their annual awards banquet!

The first project to receive an award was the Battle Creek Property Redevelopment in Salem, Oregon. Otak was responsible for redevelopment of the former Battle Creek Golf Course in SE Salem. The post-project Battle Creek property includes a new collector street serving the new Battle Creek Elementary School and an open space designed for flood mitigation and stormwater detention while also providing wildlife habitat and recreational space.

The second project was the I-5: Wilsonville Road Interchange project in Wilsonville, Oregon. This project developed a significant gateway into downtown Wilsonville, increased traffic capacity, and provided significant facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. Otak led a talented team to develop this fast-track project which includes complex retaining wall designs, low impact stormwater treatment, colorful landscaping, and artistic streetscape features.

Finally, the third project to receive an award was the Crystal Creek Pedestrian Bridge in Olympic National Park, Washington. This was a joint submittal with Hart Crowser. This project involved an approximate 160-foot-span suspension bridge over Crystal Creek along the Boulder Creek Trail. The west side main stay cables have a back span that is anchored into the ground while the east side main stay cables are anchored to a rock cliff directly adjacent to the bridge.

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January 23, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce four new hires!

Mike Davies has joined Otak as a Principal Engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mike is a Chartered Civil Engineer and qualified arbitrator with more than 20 years of experience in major infrastructure projects throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He has worked on major bridge projects in the United Arab Emirates and throughout the world, and his expertise in concrete and steel bridge construction has been utilized on other specialized steel and concrete structures in design, fabrication, and construction supervision roles. Mike holds a Master of Laws degree in Construction Law and Arbitration from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, and a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering (with honors) from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Tammi Connolly, PE, has joined Otak as a Water Resources Engineer working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Tammi brings almost ten years of experience designing and permitting municipal water and stormwater facilities, assessing existing municipal water facilities, and conducting municipal water system conservation and master planning. Tammi earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Oregon State University. She is active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and last year she chaired the Sustainable Stormwater Symposium Planning Committee for ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Group.

Hala Zainal, LEED Green Associate, has joined Otak as an Architect working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Hala is a multi-skilled architect who brings a passion for heightening awareness for the need for sustainable approaches within the built environment in the Middle East. She has worked on several projects in the United Arab Emirates and has a broad understanding of the social and cultural aspects of the architectural profession. Hala earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and her Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Rod Del Mundo has joined Otak as a CAD Technician working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Rod has served as a CAD Technician at several private engineering firms in the Seattle area, and prior to joining Otak he served as an Engineering Technician for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineering District – North Engineering and Construction Operations Branch, CAD Department in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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January 22, 2013

 

Otak’s Melanie McCandless has recently been voted on to the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s Board of Directors! Melanie is a Water Resources Engineering Designer in our Lake Oswego, Oregon, office, and she has been volunteering with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council extensively since moving to the area in 2008. Congratulations, Melanie!

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November 20, 2012

Otak is pleased to announce five new hires!

Cheyenne Covington, PE, LEED AP has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer with the Water and Natural Resources group in our office in Kirkland, Washington. He has served as Project Manager and Stormwater Technical Lead on many projects in the Puget Sound region and brings 14 years of experience in complex stormwater design, site development, and low impact development/green stormwater infrastructure implementation. Cheyenne earned both his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources and his Bachelor of Arts in Civil Engineering with a focus on Environmental Engineering from Oregon State University.

Jeff Wilson has joined Otak as a Water Resources Analyst working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Jeff worked as a Staff Scientist and Water Quality Scientist at two private consulting firms and has served as a Hydrologic Science Technician for the US Forest Service. Jeff earned both his Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Hydraulics and Water Resources and his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Washington.

Sami Auclair has joined Otak as a Marketing Coordinator working out of the firm’s office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, Sami worked as a Marketing Assistant at a private engineering firm where she wrote and edited content and provided assistance on proposal efforts. She also serves as the communications spokesperson for Architects Without Borders-Oregon where she has been writing and distributing press releases and editing internal and external materials since July 2012. Sami earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific University.

Zachary Watson has joined Otak as a Landscape Technician working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to joining Otak, Zachary worked as an Electrical Designer at a private engineering firm. He also spent three years working as a CAD Technician. Zachary earned his Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.

Marie Steffen has joined Otak as a Project Accounting Specialist working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She brings over 20 years of experience in accounting, office management and administrative support. Prior to joining Otak, she was self-employed as a Full Charge Bookkeeper, and her clients included a construction company and a property management company. Marie earned her Associates Degree in Business/Accounting from Bellevue College.

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November 2, 2012

We are pleased to announce that three new employees have recently joined us at Otak!

 

 

David Richard Jones has joined Otak as a Special Projects Manager working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. David is an urban planner and urban designer with over 20 years of experience in the development industry, and he has served as project manager on a wide variety of projects in Australia and throughout the Middle East. Recently, he has worked on projects in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, Qatar and Malaysia. David earned a Graduate Certificate in Urban Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies from Curtin University of Technology in Australia.

 

Neil Schaner has joined Otak as an Engineer-in-Training working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Neil earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources and Hydrology from the University of Washington, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. While pursuing his Master’s degree, Neil worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in both the Subsurface Hydrogeochemistry Group and the Land Surface Hydrology Research Group. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, he was active in Engineers Without Borders where he led the student engineering design team for a water distribution project for a community of 500 in western Kenya.

 

Kaela Mansfield has joined Otak as an Engineer-in-Training working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Michaela was a civil engineering/construction inspection intern at the City of Redmond Public Works in Redmond, Washington. She is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. While pursuing her degree, Kaela served as an Engineering Technical Apprentice at the Spokane County Engineering Department and served as a summer intern at Acme Concrete Paving, in Spokane, Washington.

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September 26, 2012

Otak served as a Silver Sponsor of the 2012 Sustainable Stormwater Symposium held in Portland, Oregon, on September 19 and 20. The symposium was organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers – Environment and Water Resources Group at the World Trade Center in downtown Portland and was enjoyed by almost 150 attendees. Keynote speakers included Robert Pitt, PhD, PE, who summarized his research findings around design of green infrastructure; Scott Wells, PhD, PE, who shared cautions about interpreting and reporting modeling data; and Tracy Tackett, PE, who presented the history and future of Green Stormwater Infrastructure in the City of Seattle.

Other speakers covered topics including challenges in LID infrastructure design, best practices for facility maintenance, and innovative UIC retrofit projects. Unique presentations covered modeling of CSO geysers, partnering with school children to steward bioretention facilities, and the challenges of applying basic stormwater management techniques to an Engineers Without Borders project in Honduras.

Presentations will be available on the symposium website at: www.stormwatersymposium.org

The first day ended with a poster session happy hour. Ashley Cantlon, PE, LEED AP BD+C, presented a poster with a cost comparison between conventional stormwater treatment techniques and the constructed alternative using LIDA facilities at Burnham Green Street in Tigard, Oregon. The second day included a morning session of presentations and concluded with a “Bike-BMP-n-Brew” tour of local LID facilities in the downtown Portland area.

The symposium was a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge of the growing field of sustainable stormwater design. We are looking forward to participating in the next symposium!

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August 31, 2012

On Monday, August 27th, the American Public Works Association (APWA) recognized the SW Burnham Street Improvements project as Project of the Year in the category of Transportation - $5 million but less than $25 million. Kevin Timmins attended the APWA National Congress in Anaheim, California, to accept the award on behalf of Otak. He was joined by representatives from the City of Tigard (Owner) and Kodiak Pacific Construction, which built the project. The awards evening was extended with dinner, conversation, and sharing of project images and stories from before, during and after construction of the project.

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August 31, 2012

We are pleased to announce that Otak has recently promoted 15 professionals!

Principals:

Doug Sarkkinen, PE, SE

Kevin Timmins, PE

To learn more about our new Principals, please click here.

Senior Associates:

Lamoine Eiler, AIA, LEED AP ND

Anthony Gallacher

Lori McFarland, PE

Kevin O'Brien, PhD

To learn more about our new Senior Associates, please click here.

Associates:

 

Keith Buisman, PE

Ian Fabik, PE

Alejandra Gonzales, PQP-PVRS, PBRS

Will Lawrence, PLS

Sadie Reiter

Jack Seeds, PLS

Windi Shapley, PE

Mark Shelby, PLA, ASLA

Niko Vujevic

To learn more about our new Associates, please click here.

 

 

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August 29, 2012

We are pleased to announce that two new employees have joined us at Otak!

Troy Kent, PE, LEED AP BD+C, has joined Otak as a civil engineer and senior project manager working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He brings over 20 years of experience in the field of civil engineering, and he has managed and designed projects for a broad spectrum of public and private clients. Troy’s portfolio includes single- and multifamily residential, retail, office, industrial, institutional, municipal and federal projects. His projects of note include master planning and Phase 1 civil design for the $1.2 billion, 300-acre LSI Logic (now ON Semiconductor) Microchip fabrication facility in Gresham, Oregon, and Osprey Point Business Park for the Port of Pasco, Washington. Troy earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University.

 

Hannah Marré has joined Otak’s Vancouver office as an Engineering Designer in the Water Resources department. Prior to joining Otak, Hannah worked as a Civil Designer in Portland, Oregon, where she was involved in a number of embassy-related projects in Morocco, Finland and Laos. Hannah received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Portland. While pursuing her degree, Hannah was heavily involved in Engineers Without Borders as a Project Lead to Honduras and served as the Student Led Unity Garden Club President.

 

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May 31, 2012

The Seattle Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers selected Otak’s Valley Estates Bank Stabilization and Culvert Replacement project for an Honor Award! Otak will receive the award on June 13 at an event at McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside in Seattle. This project provided an opportunity to enhance one of the few spawning locations within the Sammamish River, provide fish passage with improved habitat features and enhance the aesthetics and improve stewardship among the public reaches of the stream. Otak provided survey and base mapping, background studies including analysis of the watershed for design using HSPF and SWMM models, alternatives development, preliminary design, public involvement assistance, permitting, final design and construction documents, construction assistance and post-construction monitoring.

 

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April 20, 2012

Otak has won the 2012 American Public Works Association’s Public Works Project of the Year Award for the Burnham Street Improvements project! This national award puts Otak in a very elite group of winners, and Otak will receive a plaque at the APWA annual Awards Recognition Ceremony in Anaheim, California this summer.

Congratulations to everyone who worked on this project!

To learn more about the Burnham Street project, please click here.

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March 6, 2012

We are pleased to announce that six new employees have joined us recently at Otak!

Andrew Midwood has joined Otak as Federal Business Development Director working out of Colorado. Andrew has over ten years of experience in strategic business development and complex selling strategies with an emphasis on business to government marketing, relationship development and lead generation. Throughout his career in business development, Andrew has demonstrated a knack for building and managing new markets and facilitating relations with various governmental organizations. He earned his MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver and his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Kurt Creager has joined Otak as Housing & Community Development Director working out of our Vancouver office. Kurt has over 30 years of experience working with policy, program and project implementation. In recent years, he has focused on place making and community building through mixed-income and mixed-use development projects in the Seattle, Portland/Vancouver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles areas. As a public official, Mr. Creager has worked in planning and management positions responsible for local and regional land use, housing, economic development, and environmental plans and policy. Mr. Creager served 15 years as CEO of the Vancouver Housing Authority where he produced over 3,500 dwellings in Southwest Washington State. Before joining Otak, Kurt served as the Executive Director of the Stardust Center at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and President of Urbanist Solutions. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Fannie Mae Fellow in the State and Local Public Executive Program; the University of Washington’s Cascade Management Institute, and Western Washington University, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Planning and Architectural Graphics.

Chris Rayasam has joined Otak as Chief Financial Officer. Chris began his career at Balboa Capital Corporation where he worked as SQL DBA. He later joined AECOM/Boyle Engineering Corporation, where he held the positions of Senior Finance Manager/Assistant Controller, Senior Manager of Business Analysis/Finance, and Manager of Development. He led Boyle Engineering’s implementation of financial systems to Deltek Vision in addition to leading real estate transactions in the western region at AECOM. In each phase of his career, Mr. Rayasam has utilized his proficiency in IT and finance to run businesses more efficiently. Prior to joining Otak, Mr. Rayasam was the Corporate Controller and Director of IT for Hemmera Invirochem Inc. Mr. Rayasam earned both his MBA and Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences from the University of California.

Sara Mahoney has joined Otak as Intern Architect our Lake Oswego office. Prior to joining Otak, Sara served as Architectural Intern at MulvannyG2 Architecture in Portland. She has also provided green design and consulting services for Mahoney Homes, LLC, in Beaverton and participated in the AmeriCorps program as an Outreach/Marketing Coordinator. She was responsible for educating the community of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about sustainable living. Sara received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Melanie McCandless has joined Otak’s Water Resources team in Lake Oswego as an Engineering Designer. Melanie began her career as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for the City of Gresham’s Natural Resources Program. Her responsibilities included developing geospatial models, groundwater hydrologic monitoring, creating relational databases and supervising the restoration of riparian vegetation along a degraded urban stream. She later worked for the City of Gresham on an on-call basis. Ms. McCandless received her Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering: Water Resources from Portland State University, and dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies: Policy & Economics from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Lloyd Fonger has joined Otak as an accountant in our Lake Oswego office. Lloyd has almost 15 years of experience working in accounting for such diverse firms as Command Management Systems; Things From Another World, Inc.; Dark Horse Comics; Mail-Well Envelope, Inc., and Photogroup, Inc. Lloyd studied computer information systems at the DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Arizona.

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February 23, 2012

Otak has been working on the University of Washington, Bothell/Cascadia Community College Collocated Campus since 1993. One of the key elements of campus development has been a 60-acre wetland and stream restoration that covers almost half of the 127-acre project site. This wetland restoration has become one of the largest and most successful restorations on the west coast. Otak provided the civil engineering associated with the restoration, which included the relocation of over 4,000 feet of North Creek and the creation of a new floodplain. The following video highlights the work done to restore the wetlands and create opportunities for student and public education.

http://youtu.be/0u6sTnXpVpc

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February 9, 2012

Four Otak professionals attended this year’s River Restoration Northwest (RRNW) Annual Stream Restoration Symposium at Skamania Lodge in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. The annual symposium is the main event put on by RRNW which features short courses and presentations intended to advance the science and standards of river restoration. There were many great presentations this year on topics such as sediment transport, large woody debris, restoration of steep streams, urban streams, and restoration techniques and practice. Otak was a Bronze Level Sponsor, and the highlight of the symposium for us was that our own Gary Wolff was elected onto RRNW’s board of directors. This is a great honor for Gary and a natural progression of his involvement in RRNW where he has presented in the past and has been teaching a HEC-RAS modeling course the past few years.

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January 26, 2012

Otak engineers have been working on the East Lents Floodplain Restoration project since July of 2008. One goal of the project is to mitigate nuisance flooding by Johnson Creek onto SE Foster Road, which statistically would flood two out of three years. The first phase of the project was constructed during the summer of 2011 and was put to the test last week. According to a USGS stream gauge, the multiple-day storm produced a peak flow that equaled the 15th largest on record. Records date back to the 1930’s. The project passed the test by keeping Johnson Creek flood water off of Foster Road. Several businesses along Foster Road were saved the hassle and expense associated with post-flood cleanup they have come to expect.  According to an article in the East Portland News, business owners are ecstatic!

To read the full article, click here.

 

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December 7, 2011

Gary Wolff, Senior Water Resources Engineer, gave a presentation on November 30, 2011 for EWRG’s monthly meeting at the Lucky Lab. He presented a case study of modeling the complex hydraulic system posed by Otak’s East Lents Floodplain Restoration project, which is currently under construction.

The presentation gave an overview of the project with an emphasis on the unique application of an unsteady-flow HEC-RAS model to capture the salient hydraulic characteristics of the reach, including the off-channel storage of flood waters north and south of the creek. It was very well attended, and sparked lots of good questions and discussion within the audience.

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November 9, 2011

Otak water resource engineers Tim Kraft and Kevin Timmins spent Saturday evening at the Portland Art Museum for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (LCEP) Dinner & Art Gala. They enjoyed an evening among friends and colleagues in support of LCEP Outdoor Education programs. No one at the table went home with any artwork, but the table successfully landed a bottle of Port wine during the Live Auction and quickly made it disappear. Otak contributed to the LCEP again this year with a sponsorship that will fund "Big Canoe" field trips for three classes and pays for their bus ride to and from the dock! This is the eighth year in a row that Otak has been a sponsor.

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October 25, 2011

A few of Otak’s engineers recently travelled to Eagle Crest, Oregon for the 2011 APWA Fall Conference. To kick off the conference, Kevin Timmins, water resource engineer in Otak’s Lake Oswego office, participated in a golf tournament. Alissa Maxwell, civil engineer in Otak’s Bend office, presented a technical session to attendees. Lastly, at the conference's banquet, the team accepted the Project of the Year Award from APWA Oregon for the SW Burnham Street Improvements project. The conference was yet again a success.

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October 20, 2011

Otak’s work on the SW Burnham Street Improvements project for the City of Tigard recently won a Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association, Oregon Chapter. Otak supported the City’s vision for a revitalized downtown with design and construction services to transform Burnham Street into the City’s first “green street.” The Otak team faced the unique challenge of balancing sustainability objectives with the street’s status as a major utility and freight corridor populated with longstanding small businesses. Otak provided roadway and stormwater design, water main and landscaping design, utility coordination and preparation of legal descriptions for easement and right-of-way acquisition.

Otak also won an Achievement Award from the American Planning Association, Utah Chapter, for the City of Logan’s Land Development Code Update. This project marked the City’s first major update of land use regulations since 2004. The plan converted traditional code to an innovative “place-based” system that supports the unique qualities and character for each of Logan’s geographically diverse residential, commercial and industrial zones.   

Dan Dawson, based in Otak’s Kirkland office, recently won the James Robertson Award from the American Public Works Association, Washington Chapter. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding serviceand is one of the Chapter’s most prestigious awards.

Congratulations to Dan, as well as the project team members who were recognized for their efforts on the Burnham Street and City of Logan projects. We appreciate your dedication to building better cities, stronger communities and great places that many generations will enjoy.

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September 19, 2011

Kevin Timmins, an Otak water resource engineer and project manager, was asked to speak this past Sunday (Sept. 18th) as part of a preconference workshop at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association Annual Conference being held in Vancouver, Washington. The workshop entitled “Green Stormwater Infrastructures: Now that they are in your system, what do you do with them?” was designed to provide attendees with an in-depth review of the theory and operations of green stormwater infrastructure, including vegetated swales, rain gardens, and porous pavements.

Kevin, along with two dozen other conference attendees, spent the afternoon traveling by tour bus around North Portland visiting and discussing different Green Stormwater Infrastructure sites. Agency representatives from around the Pacific Northwest were present, including Clean Water Services; West Sound Utility District; Kitsap County Public Works; Cities of Boise, Lake Oswego, Corvallis, Coeur d'Alene, Everett, Salem, Portland, Rexburg, and Tacoma, and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

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September 5, 2011

For the past several years, the City of Redmond, Washington has been actively planning for the Overlake Village neighborhood to become the next urban center of Puget Sound Region’s East Side. Infrastructure development to support revitalization is already underway. Otak completed a plan for collocated parks and stormwater facilities last year, and is now working with the City to implement Phase 1.

As the City continues to evaluate how to give the neighborhood a competitive edge in the market, the potential for district energy is an important opportunity. Otak recently supported the City in hosting a forum focused on the potential for District Energy and Eco-District implementation. Eco-Districts are highly integrated neighborhoods that:

• Are resource efficient;
• Capture, manage and reuse a majority of energy, water, and waste within the district;
• Facilitate a range of transportation choices; and
• Enhance community engagement and wellbeing.

Several notable experts spoke at the forum about eco-districts, district energy, and urban planning, including Tom Puttman, Business Development and Technical Director with the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI); David Siegel, FAICP,  principal urban planner with Otak; Stuart Yanow, a Geosystems Engineer with Geotility; and Anthony Amendola with Amendola Enterprises, Micheal Weinstein with Urban Innovations Group, and Greg Galusha with MacDonald-Miller who are supporting Energy Efficiency Collaboratives in the region. Terri Battuello, City of Bothell Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Manager spoke about her community’s successful experiences in planning to revitalize its downtown and to integrate district energy. Mandi Roberts, principal with Otak, served as the moderator for the forum.

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July 12, 2011

Sheri Murata joined Otak’s Water and Natural Resources group in the Kirkland office on June 30th. She is an engineer specializing in water resources projects, erosion control, stormwater engineering, and site improvements. Sheri graduated from the University of Washington in 2001 and is a registered engineer in the state of Washington.

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