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 7, 2011

Yesterday, Otakians at the Vancouver office arrived at work to the smell of pancakes and bacon, orange juice, fresh fruit and scrambled eggs. Rich Darland, project manager, treated staff to homemade breakfast as a thank you of their many hours of hard work. “Morale is good and we’re full, happy and busy,” said Marilou Davis, project assistant.




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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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   September 1, 2011

2nd in the Series: Landscape Architects Tell Their Understory

By Mandi Roberts, Principal, Kirkland Office

Everyone is talking about landscape architects thanks to ASLA’s roll out last week of the “Your Environment Designed” campaign to build awareness about the profession of landscape architecture. At Otak, landscape architects have been working side-by-side with civil engineers, architects, planners, scientists, and other professionals every day for the last three decades. Some interesting perspectives on landscape architects have formed out of this collaboration. Just recently, Nico Vanderhorst, a principal and civil engineer in the Kirkland office shared these thoughts:
“ I like working with landscape architects because:
• They help make our infrastructure projects look really good.
• They inspire creativity, particularly in our engineers, which ultimately make our designs better.
• They all wear really cool glasses.
• They always let me borrow their ‘trace.’ “

What is your perspective on landscape architects?  Why do you like working with them?  Share your “understory” by commenting below.

As for the national movement to build awareness about landscape architects, you can still get involved! To learn more, go to


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