Project Manager Tricia Berg and Project Architect Austin Bailey met with Principal Investigators Anthony Koppers and Joseph Stoner at Oregon State University’s new Marine and Geology Repository. The researchers are cataloguing and organizing the recently arrived Antarctic Core Collection in the new facility. These priceless sediment cores tell the history of many of the earth’s systems. The cores will be invaluable in studying climate change and ice sheet retreat for they chronicle past responses in Antarctica to times warmer than the present.
Meet UO’s campus crane operator
By Zach Prince
The Daily Emerald
July 30, 2018
Perched far above the claustrophobic PLC offices, looming over the infamous steps of Johnson Hall, sits a 172 EC-B Liebherr tower crane. Standing at more than 200 feet in the air, the view from the crane’s cab might be one of the best in town. On a clear day, one can see everything from Eugene’s east hills and Hendricks Park to the city’s tallest building, the Ya-Po-Ah Terrace.
Sitting atop the swaying beast is Ray McArthur, who is tasked with operating the crane for Nesscampbell, a Northwest-based crane and rigging company. McArthur, 63, has worked as a crane operator for more than 30 years and operated cranes for numerous construction projects on both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University’s campuses.
In Eugene, McArthur operated cranes for the construction of Matthew Knight Arena, the EMU’s renovation, student housing, Autzen Stadium’s renovation, the Casanova extension, The Rec and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. He also worked on multiples projects at OSU including Reser Stadium and a science building. He is currently working on the Tykeson Hall construction project, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.
McArthur, who lives in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, is a seasoned tower crane operator who portrays a surprising amount of calmness despite using such heavy machinery. But that wasn’t always the case.
“I used to seriously have to sit with two rags on my legs,” McArthur said. “I’d rub my hands on them just ‘cause I’d sweat that much.”
McArthur worked as a laborer in the construction industry for 10 years before he became involved in operating heavy machinery. He first started out operating boom trucks, then hydro cranes and continued to move into working with larger equipment as time went on. The first time he operated a crane was when a construction site superintendent asked if he would cover for the site’s tower operator, who had gone on vacation for the week.
“[The superintendent’s] operator in Portland was going to go deer hunting or something, so he wanted to know if I would cover for him,” McArthur said. “I had never been in a tower crane before so I said ‘Hell yeah, let’s do it.’”
There was no required training or necessary qualifications for operating tower cranes when McArthur first began operating in the 1980s. Now there is a five-year apprenticeship required to break into the profession.
On his first job, the site superintendent promised McArthur a week-long training session from the regular operator. After not finding time to go up in the crane on either Monday or Tuesday, the two finally made it up on Wednesday for a two-hour training session. The operator then told McArthur they would pick up where they left off the next morning, but that isn’t how it happened.
“Thursday morning, I’m waiting for the operator to show up to give me some more instruction,” McArthur said. “So I’m looking around, looking around and the son of a gun never came back in. Two hours of training and then the thing was in my lap. Talk about being scared.”
McArthur was thrown into the fire on his first crane operating job, but even after two decades of experience, he still considers his profession stressful.
“It gets pretty intense sometimes,” McArthur said. “I didn’t have grey hair before I started this job.”
The level of stress McArthur regularly experiences depends on factors such as the weather conditions, how much work there is and what type of work needs to be completed.
McArthur says the best way to avoid those stressful situations is good communication. Groundworkers communicate with the crane operator by using a combination of radio messages and hand signals. On large construction sites, operators work with a bellman who serves as eyes on the ground, but for smaller sites such as Tykeson Hall, McArthur is on his own.
In order to work safely and effectively, operators must build a trust with the workers on the ground, McArthur said. This is especially true when the crane is operating in a blind spot that McArthur can’t see.
“If I can see it, I don’t sweat it,” McArthur said, “but if I can’t see it, if I’m picking stuff out of the basement or way over there where I can’t see, then those guys are running the crane, basically. I’m just doing what they tell me to do.”
Luckily, McArthur knows most of the other workers on the Tykeson Hall site, which gives him insight on who to trust and who to keep a closer eye on.
McArthur thought that Tykeson Hall would be his last job before retirement, but he’s a motorhead and couldn’t resist making an investment in a classic Chevy Nova last fall. Instead of retiring, he will operate the tower crane for the Knight Science Campus construction project, which broke ground in March 2018.
But for McArthur, delaying his retirement plans isn’t such a bad thing. Despite the stress that can come with being a crane operator, he truly loves the work he has made a career out of.
“I like the guys I work with. I like the challenge because every day is a challenge,” McArthur said. “Every day is something different. It’s not the same thing every day.”
For the full photo gallery, see "Photos: Climbing the campus crane" by Sarah Northrop.
Steps in the Sequence:
1. Existing 2017 Facade
2. Existing Facade Stripped Back to Reveal Original Structure
3. Existing Columns Reinforced and New Columns Inserted
4. Glulam and Concrete Shear Wall Inserted; Weather Barrier Going in Place
5. Windows, Garage Doors, and Cladding Installed
6. Finished 2018 Facade
Steps in the Sequence:
1. Existing 2017 Interior with Metal Window Grating Removed
2. Existing Wall Stripped Back to Reveal Original Structure
3. New Columns Inserted
4. Gypcrete Floor Installed
5. Sprinklers Installed
6. Finished 2018 Interior - Rowell Brokaw's Office
Project Manager Tricia Berg stepped into the −13°C ice core freezer as part of her punch list for the OSU Marine and Geology Repository. In order to ensure the perfect temperature for ice cores collected around the world, this room is equipped with evaporators, insulated sandwich panels, and an insulated concrete slab. Tricia also inspected the sediment sample rooms where sediments will be placed within the 23' tall space on 19' racks. A specialized sprinkler system with high pressure water serves as a back-up emergency system for the space. In the coming weeks, precious ice and sediment cores, acquired from Florida State under a national grant program, will be stored in OSU's new repository facility.
As part of a 4th of July ceremony, Jefferson Library held a pet parade from their old library to their new one. The fire department led the parade and the sheriff brought up the rear to make sure no one got lost—participants included the Festival of Flowers Princess, stuffed animals, live pigs, a large snake, children, dogs, turtles, adults, wagon floats and much more. After some popsicles were consumed, there was a building tour of the new library. Move-in is slated for September.
Form needs a face. The cladding for Amazon Corner is being installed. The building will feature a mix of brick veneer, Parklex, stucco, and metal cladding. The site is also coming along. A stormwater planter has been cast in the parking lot. A concrete, jogged walkway in the divider between lanes on Hilyard Street marks the beginning of a pedestrian crosswalk. Amazon Corner is anticipated to open in September.
Rowell Brokaw Architects receives Three Design Awards at the 2018 AIA Southwestern Oregon Design Awards
Rowell Brokaw Architects, PC is honored to be among the recipients of the 2018 AIA Southwestern Oregon (SWO) Design Awards. This year Rowell Brokaw received three awards, including one Honor Award. This Design Award Program is the profession’s highest recognition for work that exemplifies design excellence and enhances the built environment. The AIA-SWO Design Awards Program occurs every four-to-five years.
On June 29, the AIA-SWO Design Awards Banquet was held in the Ballroom of the UO Ford Alumni Center. Of the 30 projects submitted, 9 projects were singled out for recognition.
Judging this year’s entries were Gary J. Aquilina, AIA, from CAS Architects, Mountain View, CA; Carrie Strickland, FAIA, from Works Progress architects, Portland, L.A., and Denver; Cassandra Keller from Clark Keller, Canberra, Australia; Robert Hastings, FAIA, the Agency Architect for TriMet in Portland; and Ruth Baleiko, AIA, from Miller Hull, Seattle office.
2018 AIA / SWO HONOR AWARD
Architecture Firm: Rowell Brokaw Architects in collaboration with Opsis Architecture
Project Team: Mark Young, Greg Brokaw, John Rowell, Patrick Hannah, Elaine Lawson, Britni Jessup, Ken Hutchinson, Matt Travis, Peter Utsey, and Austin Bailey at RB and Alec Holser, Jim Kalvelage, Joe Baldwin, Jeri Tess, and Nate Wood at Opsis with Catena Consulting Engineers, Interface Engineering, Cameron McCarthy
Owner/Client: 4J Eugene School District
Contractor: John Hyland Construction
Photographer: Christian Columbres Photography
Jury’s Comments: “A fantastic renovation of an existing school that interprets a new pedagogy for STEM curriculum with a new organization for this middle school. The result feels like a completely new institution that embraces open and transparent spaces for learning. New relationships are skillfully organized both in plan and section by providing places of learning for classes as well as small groups and individual spaces. The result is a unifying whole of existing spaces, materials, and structure with the new additions that create a complete translation for the school. Particular skill was demonstrated in the architectural treatments that unify existing structure, materials, and spaces with the new construction. The end result is both robust and delicate…elegant and durable.”
2018 AIA / SWO MERIT AWARD
Architecture Firm: Rowell Brokaw Architects
Project Team: John Rowell, Greg Brokaw, Patrick Hannah, Britni Jessup, Tricia Berg, Lorri Nelson, Paul Harman with deChase Miksis, Catena Consulting Engineers, Innovative Air, and Reynold's Electric
Owner/Client: 1203 Willamette, LLC
Contractor: Essex General Construction
Photographer: Christian Columbres Photography, Erik Bishoff Photography
Jury Comments: “The adaptive reuse of a 1940’s era furniture store, with limited relationship with the life of downtown Eugene, is a terrific case study of urban revitalization. The design decision of using ‘removal rather than insertion’ proved to be an excellent strategy. By engaging both levels of the original building, it completely transforms the streetscape and greatly contributes to the City’s livability. The jury commends the use of the building’s elements of wood structure, open fenestrations, and authentic materials to create lively interior and exterior spaces. In particular, the jury recognizes the careful proportions, scale of spaces, use of elemental materials, interior and exterior lighting, vertical circulation and layering of movement.”
2018 AIA / SWO CITATION AWARD
Architecture Firm: Rowell Brokaw Architects
Project Team: Greg Brokaw, Britni Jessup, Frank Visconti, Lorri Nelson with Catena Consulting Engineers, Comfort Flow, and EC Electric
Owner/Client: Roseburg Forest Products
Contractor: McKenzie Commercial Contracting
Photographer: Christian Columbres Photography, Frank Visconti
Jury Comments: “What could have been another example of treating large box buildings as part of our disposable society, instead became a wonderful revitalization. The plan to organize the perimeter of the triangulated building into open offices, while enlivening the center with gathering and meeting spaces, resulted in a compete transformation. The clear use of materials, color, natural and artificial lighting, and furnishings is exemplary. What is especially powerful is the creation of a central space that promotes and engenders equity.”
Eugene residents want mix of natural, urban features in Willamette riverfront park
By Ed Russo
June 4, 2018
Eugene residents want a mix of urban and natural features in the planned Willamette riverfront park on the east edge of downtown.
City officials are soliciting ideas from the public to help create the park on a narrow stretch of the former Eugene Water & Electric Board utility yard next to the river. The 3-acre park, across the Willamette River from Alton Baker Park, is a key piece in the city’s plan to redevelop 16 acres of former EWEB property into a vibrant urban area.
About 100 people attended a meeting on May 24 to share their views on what they want to see in the park. Residents spoke with landscape architects from Walker Macy, the Portland firm hired by the city to develop a design concept by September. An online survey, taken by more than 700 people, also is being used to gather public opinion. The survey is open until June 14.
Presently, the only public access to the property is a bike path that runs along the steep, tree-and-brush-covered edge of the riverbank, about a dozen feet above the river.
EWEB earlier had agreed to donate the 3-acre property for the park, and the city agreed to spend at least $3 million to develop it. EWEB, a publicly owned utility, has agreed to pay $250,000 to the city for maintenance of the park.
Emily Proudfoot, the city’s manager for the park project, said residents want the park to be developed so they can “see and connect with the Willamette River in ways that they can’t do now.”
To do that, most people have said they want the park to include a combination of urban and natural features.
“Respondents are saying that they want an active, safe and fun place to bring their families and kids, and to include public art and history as important aspects of the design,” Proudfoot said. “In general, we are reaffirming that the community wants an urban riverfront park in downtown Eugene.”
The city plans to hold a meeting on July 19 for residents to comment on designs developed by Walker Macy. A final concept is expected to be finished by Sept. 27.
Meanwhile, two public events this month will gather public opinion about the city’s plans to develop much of the 16-acre property, which it purchased last month from EWEB for $5.7 million.
Last week, city officials said they have agreed to terms with Portland-based Williams/Dame & Associates to redevelop about half of the former utility yard.
Under the proposed deal, Williams/Dame would pay about $2.7 million for the unimproved land and commit to build 215 apartments, 70 townhouses and a 125-room hotel on it. The city would lease to Williams/Dame two parcels for 14,000 square feet of commercial space and a restaurant.
The other half of the former EWEB property would be developed for an affordable housing project, streets, a public plaza and other uses.
On June 20, Williams/Dame representatives will share their ideas with the public in an open house in EWEB’s north headquarters building.
On June 25, the City Council will hold a public hearing on the city’s proposed redevelopment agreement with Dame/Williams.
Separately, the city is seeking a buyer to redevelop the vacant steam plant, which Williams/Dame did not want to buy.
Williams/Dame led the redevelopment of the Pearl and South Waterfront Districts in Portland, as well as a neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles. The design team for the Eugene property includes SERA Architects of Portland, which designed the Tate condominiums near West 13th Avenue and Olive Street, and the renovation of the Erb Memorial Union at the University of Oregon.
Two public meetings will be held in June to provide information and get comments on plans to redevelop the former Eugene Water & Electric Board property along the Willamette River.
June 20: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Williams/Dame and city staff will present information at an open house at EWEB’s north headquarters community room, 500 E. Fourth Ave.
June 25: 7:30 p.m. Public hearing before City Council, acting as Urban Renewal Agency, in Harris Hall, 125 E. Eighth Ave., on proposed development agreement with Williams/Dame.
For information: eugene-or.gov/riverfront
Under the mentorship of Frank Visconti, University of Oregon student Steven Liang completed a Spring practicum with Rowell Brokaw. The purpose of the practicum is for the student to gain exposure to the many facets of real-life projects at an architecture firm. Among other experiences, Steven went on site visits and attended OAC meetings at Pacific Hall, Amazon Corner, and the South Hills House. He also gained knowledge of the latest architectural practices used in offices. "I give credit to Frank," he said, "because he's really good at many programs, such as Lumion, Revit, and VR." Steven also worked on an entry for the AIA-SWO Design Awards and "learned how to put a large chunk of information together in a presentation." He enjoyed the firm culture, which he described as "open" and "collaborative." Steven will graduate with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon in July.
Central to the re-envisioning of 1203 Willamette was the idea of opening up the facade to the street via garage doors and windows, revealing the interior wood structure, and allowing daylight to penetrate the building. The intention is to create a welcoming exterior and connective interior through transparency and warmth.
Artist Garrick Imatani spoke at the Blessing Ceremony for the installation of his artwork at UO Straub Hall. The installation includes a sculpture of the Tomanowas (Willamette Meteorite), sacred to the Clackamas (now part of the Grand Ronde tribe), that floats in front of a mural of the Missoula Floods. This installation is part of the Percent for Art project by the state of Oregon. For more on the installation, see Sculpture of Meteorite Installed in Straub Hall Atrium.
Operated through the Architecture Foundation of Oregon (AFO) organization, Architects in Schools (AIS) is a statewide, six-week residency program for elementary and middle schools where students and classroom teachers work directly with practicing architects and other design professionals with the goal of developing awareness and understanding of the designed and built environment.
This year Britni Jessup and Nicola Fucigna worked with 4th grade classroom teachers Sarah Knudsen and Norina Vazque at the Buena Vista Spanish Immersion School. For the overarching classroom project, they had students develop innovative learning spaces in the style of a famous architect. Students researched their architects alongside exploring the programmatic and user needs of a learning space. They answered such questions as “How would my architect treat the walls, roof, and overall massing? What materials would my architect use? How does this effect the users’ experience?” At the end of the project, students built models of their learning spaces with removable roofs to expose the interiors.
Austin Bailey worked with 4th grade classroom teacher Jonny Hellner at Willagillespie Elementary. Their final project combined Northwest Coast history and architecture. Each student designed a "Tillamook House," a Native American dwelling.
When possible, Rowell Brokaw enjoys sponsoring projects and events in Eugene. One project that has been completed in time for Earth Day is the installation of solar panels (or photovoltaic cells) on the roof of Buena Vista Elementary School. The school was awarded a grant from EWEB's Greenpower program for their "PV 4 BV Solar Initiative" project, which will give "real time" energy data in the classroom to support class projects. Here's an educational video (both in English and in Spanish) developed alongside the project by Attic Media:
Another event, that we are very proud to help sponsor, is occurring this weekend: the DisOrient Film Festival. Here is the festival's mission: "DisOrient is the premiere Asian American, social justice film festival of Oregon. Our films—'By us, for us and about us'—break open the one-dimensional stereotype of the 'Oriental.' We believe in the power of film to inform, heal and connect people. We bring power to our voice as we share our stories and advocate for social justice."
Hope to see you at the event and Happy Earth Day!
After finishing the move to our new office, we walked downstairs to Claim 52 Brewing for their soft opening. When Rowell Brokaw was deciding whether to develop and renovate the building, we saw Capstone Apartments, which is situated directly across the street, as this project’s biggest liability. But in the end, we decided to go forward with the project. From an architectural and urban design perspective, Capstone is a sad and sorry example, but it has, on a positive note, brought a large number of residents to this part of downtown. Ultimately, we must move on, repair the damage, renew, and move forward. We think 1203 Willamette is a step in the right direction.
Rowell Brokaw worked on several tenant improvements for the new building, including Claim 52, the office of Watkinson Laird Rubenstein, PC, and our own new office. The TI for Claim 52 emphasized the building's timber frame with its exposed wood columns and ceilings and its board-formed concrete walls. The floors have a lot of character--the original fir flooring is a softwood that retains all the scrapes and dings from the years. Garage roll-up doors create a strong indoor-outdoor connection. The space is very efficient, with a cooler in the basement, a compact kitchen, and an event room. Systems were carefully integrated into the exposed timber structure. For more on Claim 52, see this article in the Register-Guard.
We are excited to announce that we have moved! The Rowell Brokaw office is now at the following address: 1203 Willamette, Suite 220, Eugene, Oregon 97401.
We are still settling into our new space, but we will let you know should we have a formal or informal party. There is an exciting mix of tenants in the building: Claim 52, Katie Brown, Saucefly, deChase Miksis, Q. Sterry Inspired Architecture, and Watkinson Laird Rubenstein, P.C. The ground floor has a series of garage doors that open onto Willamette. The outdoor sidewalk area is intentionally deep to allow for outdoor seating and retail opportunities.
For more on the history and major remodel of the new building, please see our project page. Stay tuned for some before and after images.
Throughout the year, Rowell Brokaw has Lunch 'n Learns, in which reps come from various building industries to educate the firm on their latest products and services. Recently reps from E.B. Bradley Company of Portland showed us the Blum product line. They also brought along Blum’s Age Explorer Suit, which simulates aging 30+ years. Blum developed this suit to aid in their designs: their engineers experience firsthand what a 70+ year old goes through with something as simple as opening a cabinet. This understanding informs the function, motion and technology in their hardware. Blum has developed a series of motion technologies, lift systems, concealed hinges, runner systems and more.
Britni Jessup, a brave soul, donned the Age Explorer Suit to perform some basic daily tasks in front of the RB team. Despite the weighted jumpsuit, the prickly gloves (to stimulate carpal tunnel syndrome), the noise cancelling headphones, and the fogged glasses, Britni managed surprisingly well. The suit was a vivid way to heighten our awareness of the need to design for aging in place.
By Elon Glucklich
March 18, 2018
At the southern base of Skinner Butte sits the historic Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House, built in the 1880s, the Ya-Po-Ah Terrace senior living tower, built in the 1960s, and an apartment complex built in the 1970s.
Now a group of local developers hopes to add a touch of modern living to the base of the butte with the first new construction around the Eugene landmark in nearly a half-century.
Eugene development consultant Mark Miksis, attorney Rick Larson and property manager Jim St. Clair have been working behind the scenes for more than two years on their Market District Townhomes project.
They plan to fit 20 townhouses on a 1.7-acre lot between the base of Skinner Butte and Shelton McMurphey Boulevard, immediately west of the 1 West Fourth apartment complex. Street work could begin later this spring, Miksis said, with construction on the first six townhouses starting soon after.
“Our goal is to start in the next several months,” he said. “It’s an amenity-rich neighborhood, close to downtown, Fifth Street Public Market, lots of dining.”
Amid Eugene’s multi-year housing boom, developers have been racing to fill out the north and west edges of the city with large single-family subdivisions.
But for projects closer to downtown, builders are increasingly targeting available land for dense apartment developments.
The townhouse project fits into a different market altogether, with units being purchased instead of leased. Eugene has hardly seen any new townhouses or condos built over the last decade.
But Miksis feels Market District Townhomes will fill an underserved niche in the city.
“It’s an opportunity to actually own a home, not like a condo where you don’t own the ground, and not an apartment,” he said. “And maybe most important is the location.”
Miksis has had his fingerprints on some major local projects in recent years, including Crescent Village in northeast Eugene, several University of Oregon-area student apartments and the ongoing renovation of the former Oregon Antique Mall building at Willamette Street and 12th Avenue downtown.
Larson, meanwhile, has been a member of limited liability companies owning the Shelton McMurphey Boulevard site dating back to 2000. But he, Miksis and St. Clair formed Skinner’s Landing LLC in February 2016, and Miksis filed planning documents with the city of Eugene outlining the Market District Townhomes project a few months later.
Miksis declined to discuss financial details about the project.
The group has tapped Eugene homebuilder Jordan Iverson to construct the first phase of the project: six two-bedroom townhouses, each between 1,400 and 1,800 square feet, with terraces facing south toward Spencer Butte.
Prices would tentatively range from $450,000 to $650,000, Iverson said. Each unit would include a one or two-car garage accessed from a new interior street extending off Shelton McMurphey Boulevard.
Construction should take seven to nine months once the street work is complete, Iverson said.
The remaining 14 units would be built in two or three subsequent phases, according to preliminary information about the project. Those plans include four three-bedrooms units of 1,500 square feet or more, plus rooftop gardens, and 10 three-bedroom units with 2,500 square feet of space at the north edge of the property, at the base of Skinner Butte.
Buildout of the future phases would be based on how quickly townhouses sell in the first phases, Miksis said, and the overall housing demand once phase one is complete.
But Miksis said it’s easy to be bullish on the growing concept of a “Market District” in the area between Skinner Butte and Sixth Avenue, largely spearheaded by Fifth Street Public Market owner Brian Obie’s plan for a $60 million expansion of the shopping center, which Obie announced this month.
The Eugene City Council, meanwhile, is discussing millions of dollars in upgrades at 10 downtown-area railroad crossings so trains wouldn’t have to repeatedly blast their horns to alert pedestrians and motorists.
Developers have long blamed the horns for depressing demand for new housing in the area.
Market District Townhomes would be built north of Fourth Avenue, near railroad tracks, several crossings and the Eugene Amtrak station.
And Miksis sees the townhouse project fitting in naturally with the proposed Eugene Water & Electric Board riverfront redevelopment, which could add hundreds of downtown apartments and 70 to 80 townhouse units, plus 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, all a half-mile east of the Market District Townhomes site.
“We have the (railroad) quiet zone being discussed, we have Obie’s project and the EWEB riverfront project — this location keeps improving,” Miksis said. “So this is an opportunity to offer this type of housing in an area where there’s just a lot happening.”