Tag Archives: links

Portland Civil Links 10/10/14

Transportation funding, Portland’s parks and using active transportation to promote health in our school system. Here are the Portland Civil links for the past week.

  • First, I would like to encourage Portland voters to check out the Fix Our Park campaign, which is working to pass the upcoming Parks Replacement Bond. This bond will fund much needed repairs to Portland’s park system and will not result in a tax increase. As a parent and President of our local Little League, I can testify first hand to how critical these parks are to our community and how much they contribute to livability in our city.
  • Here at Civil PDX, I explored how the OTIA funding surge has affected competition between engineering firms for public infrastructure projects. In short, I believe that the OTIA work has created a large supply of qualified engineering firms, while transportation funding problems have resulted in less demand for their services.
  • Portland Parks and Recreation opened the agency’s first entirely nature based playground at Westmoreland Park, a KPFF project that I had the opportunity to work on. The park uses logs, boulders, plants and other natural elements to create a fun, exploration based environment for kids to play in.
  • Metro debuted an innovative stormwater wall at the Portland Expo Center last week. Designed by landscape architecture firm GreenWorks PC, the wall uses vegetation to treat runoff from the building’s roof before it is directed into the sewer system.
  • A new effort is underway to define the future of Veterans Memorial Coliseum.  The study will explore options ranging from addressing deferred maintenance to gutting the building and creating an entirely different venue.
  • Finally, Wednesday was International Bike and Walk to School Day! In a country that struggles with obesity, teaching our kids about the benefits of active transportation is a critical piece of maintaining the health of our communities. Growing up in a rural area, I didn’t get to enjoy the benefits of biking and walking places until I was an adult, but my own kids testify that their walk to and from school is one of the most enjoyable parts of their day.

That’s all for this week. It looks like the rain might hold off to give us a last weekend of beautiful fall weather before the pineapple express blows Oregon’s real fall into action.


Portland Civil Links 10/2/14

Development, trees, playoff baseball and a dose of engineering philosophy. These are your Portland Civil weeks for the first full week of fall.

  • Here at Civil PDX, I wrote about the first rule of design, that design is iterative. This is in contrast to math and science education, which teach us to seek direct solutions. The resulting conflict centers around professionals being expected to solve problems in a way that their education has not prepared them to. Cue internal conflict.
  • Portland designer Carl Alviani wrote an incredible article about the major changes that are on the horizon for Portland over the next 5 years. Everyone in the city senses that development is booming, but this article argues that we are only getting a taste of what will very soon be here. Seriously, even if you don’t want to read anything else right now, just click the link and scroll down the page to see some of the buildings that you may see on our horizons before long.
  • Portland Parks and Recreation highlighted the history of the 120 year old copper beach tree that stands in front of the Portland State University Library. This is one of 317 trees throughout the city that have been granted special protections as “heritage trees”. Because the Northwest is so green, we can be tempted to think that sometimes trees need to be cut down to make room for our work, and that replacing them is almost as good as saving them. True, trees sometimes need to be removed, but it is important to balance this with the understanding that the replacing could take 120 years.
  • Finally, after 161-1/2 games, the Seattle Mariners were eliminated from the Major League Baseball playoffs in the middle of their last game of the regular season, when the Oakland Athletics finished a clinching win against the Texas Rangers. As sad as this is, 2014 was the most entertaining season to be a Mariners fan since 2001. At the beginning of the year, the consensus was that a winning record would be a success. The M’s blew past that to finish 87-75, giving us a taste of how fun a pennant drive can be.

That’s all for this week. Have a great weekend!

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Portland Civil Links 09/12/14

It was another week of great weather in Portland, as summer continues to hang on. Here are some civil engineering stories for the week that I found interesting.

  • Here at Civil PDX, I investigated a sinkhole that appeared along my daily bike route. Holes like this are not uncommon – a product of the City’s aging infrastructure. This one looks to be the result of an improperly functioning drywell. The process of discovering and writing about this problem has been an eye opening one for me and has made me rethink the possibilities of what could be happening beneath our failing streets.
  • With the school year underway, the Architecture Foundation of Oregon is gearing up for another round of the successful Architects in Schools program. This program teams AEC professionals with elementary school teachers to help kids learn about the design process. This is a great opportunity for working folks to contribute to educating the youth in our communities. I will be volunteering for my first time this year and I encourage you to consider doing the same.
  • Private development is going strong in Portland. The latest example being Gerding Edlen’s bid to buy 3/4 of a block in Old Town from the Portland Development Commission, where the developer plans to build a $37 million mixed use building. The story offers a slight twist in that Mark Edlen, the company’s CEO, is expected to joint the commission in October.
  • Speaking of a changing Portland, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability launched a web site this week that allows you to tour the City’s Comprehensive Plan Open House from the comfort of your own couch. This seems like a great way to get more people involved in the process. The downside is that you will have to supply your own coffee and donuts.
  • Finally, the Hillsboro Hops – the Portland area’s minor league baseball team – beat the Vancouver Canadians 4-3 on Monday to claim the Northwest League Championship. This is a big accomplishment, coming off the second season after the team’s move from Yakima. Having been to games during both seasons, I have to admit that this year’s team was much improved and their record showed it. If you are thinking that this has nothing to do with civil engineering, you are right, but it is great anyway.

That’s a full lid for this week. Have a great weekend!

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Portland Civil Links 09/04/14

Summer vacation and clear 90 degree days are fading away. School and rain are on their way back, but so are football and the bike commute challenge. See how the week’s themes relate to civil engineering and the AEC industry.

  • Here at Civil PDX, we toured the pavement rehabilitation and preservation work underway at the Portland International Airport. I will leave it to you to decide if I deserve part of the blame for throwing off your travel plans this summer.
  • The BTA’s annual bike commute challenge is underway! Bike commuting is a great way to stay fit while making a small but real step toward air cleaner and less congested roads. Whether you are a cycling enthusiast or have never ridden, the challenge is a great way to get into using your our streets in a whole new way.
  • NFL football starts this week and the Oregonian had an idea of where you can go if you weren’t able to get tickets to see the Seahawks take on Green Bay. This is a great way to capitalize on the impressive architecture of both CenturyLink Field and downtown Seattle.
  • Finally, school is back in session, which means that school zone traffic safety should return to the front of our minds while driving. Here are 10 things to remember about driving in school zones, courtesy of Joseph Rose. Item 4 especially bears attention: “Research shows pedestrians have a 90 percent chance of surviving car crashes at 18 mph or below. However, their chances of survival from an automobile impact drop to less than 50 percent at 28 mph or above.”

Have a great weekend – thanks for reading! Make sure to enter your email address at the top of this page to have civil engineering links like sent to your inbox each week.

Portland Civil Links, 8/28/14

Weekly links from Portland’s AEC industry.


With development projects jumping up daily and a steady stream of new residents, the Portland metro area is always an interesting place in the AEC industry. The following links highlight civil engineering and regional news over the past week.

  • Here at Civil PDX, I explored the differences between passive and proactive design approaches and how a designer’s approach can affect the long term benefits and implications of a project.
  • BikePortland.org is wrapping up a week long series about the BTA’s five new advocacy campaigns, which include driving big functional changes on the Broadway commercial corridor and defining the future of the Safe Routes to Schools program.
  • Brian Libby of Portland Architecture wrote a great article about the past, present and future of Tilikum Crossing, Portland’s newest bridge, which is scheduled to open in September 2015.

That’s all for this week. Have a great Labor Day weekend!