PV 4 BV Solar Initiative and DisOrient Film Festival

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!

Soft Opening of Claim 52 at 1203 Willamette

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.

Blum's Age Explorer Suit

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.

Concrete Pour for Tykeson Hall

On March 19 from 12:30 AM until 9 AM, Fortis Construction poured the 30" thick slab for the foundation of Tykeson Hall. It took 130 concrete trucks--1300 yards of concrete--to make the slab!

Market District Townhomes featured in Register-Guard

Article in the Register-Guard

By Elon Glucklich
The Register-Guard
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.”

Frank Visconti Bringing New York to Eugene

Article in the Eugene Weekly

By Bob Keefer
Eugene Weekly
March 8, 2018

Urban Delight: A New York architect sees Eugene with fresh eyes

Writing sometime around the year 30 B.C., the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio — Vitruvius, to his friends — laid out, in his foundational work De Architectura, three principles that should inform all architecture: firmitasutilitasand venustas.

More than 2,000 years later, Eugene architect Frank Visconti translates those Latin terms as “firmness,” meaning that a building is structurally sound; “commodity,” meaning that it’s functional; and “delight.”

“That’s the joy that one gets out of it,” Visconti says.

Visconti, who works at Rowell Brokaw Architects in Eugene, came here two and a half years ago from New York City, drawn by that Vitruvian factor he found here in Oregon.

“I am a New Yorker in every sense of the word,” he says. “And I think Eugene is very delightful. It has all the elements of an urban experience, but on such a tiny scale — 160,000 people versus 11 million. Everything here is only 15 minutes away.”

I called Visconti to ask him a couple questions about design in general and about the quality of architecture he sees in Eugene.

Is design generally appreciated by the public? I wanted to know.

To my surprise, he says “yes.”

“I do think it’s appreciated on many levels,” he says. “Some of them might be more subversive or more obvious.”

On the largest scale, he says, architecture defines the entire urban experience. “It influences the amount of sunlight that comes into the streets and the open spaces,” he says. “It has to do with the quality of materials. And it has been important since the built environment was conceived as a bigger idea.”

On a smaller scale, he says, architecture influences what you see out your bedroom window. “You want light and air,” he says. “You want the window facing a certain direction. Something as simple as orientation to the sun is important to design.”

The killer question: Is Eugene ugly, as so many critics claim?

“I find it a vibrant place,” he says. “Though there’s certainly lots of potential.”

Visconti expanded on that idea in an interesting direction.

Eugene has long lived with the legacy of 1970s redevelopment, in which many older downtown buildings were demolished to make way for what would ultimately be a failed pedestrian mall.

In most accounts, that was an architectural disaster, replacing the elegance of history with the prefab look of more-modern buildings. Not so for Visconti.

Eugene, he says, “is a time capsule of the ’70s in some ways. It’s very clean and well taken care of. It’s a slice of time rooted in 30 or 40 years ago.”

More broadly, he describes Eugene as embracing a style that might be called “optimistic modern.”

“It’s a start-up city,” he says, and then mentions the best-selling 1989 computer game SimCity, in which the player controls the development of a virtual city. “Eugene is the early stage of a Sim city.”

The city does have potential yet unrealized.

“It has a vibrancy that’s rooted in Broadway and Willamette Street and the Hult Center,” he says. “And it has the Whit — a fantastic neighborhood, a classic bohemian edgy part of town where there is a lot of culture and personal expression.”

The biggest issue that needs solving, he says, is housing.

“The city should do whatever it can to promote more market-rate and affordable housing so that more people live downtown.” 

Register-Guard Article on The Female Entrepreneurs in 1203 Willamette

Article in the Register-Guard

By Ed Russo
The Register-Guard
March 5, 2018

Four women-owned businesses are about to bring life to a previously moribund part of Eugene’s signature street.

The businesses — Claim 52 Kitchen, Katie Brown clothing, Saucefly Market/Bar, and Blue Bird Flowers — are preparing to open during the next several weeks in the newly renovated building at 1203 Willamette St.

“The location on Willamette Street is ideal,” said Jeannine Parisi, co-owner of Claim 52 Brewing in Eugene, a craft brewer that is opening its first restaurant/taproom combination. “We are part of a project that will wake this whole block up.”

The building makeover is the latest in a series of downtown improvement projects that began with the 2010-11 renovation of the former Centre Court Building, now Broadway Commerce Center, at Broadway and Willamette Street. Since then, more than two dozen buildings in the city center have been built or renovated, according to Denny Braud, executive director of Eugene’s planning and development department.

The 36,000-square-foot Willamette Street structure, east of the massive 13th and Olive student apartment complex, is composed of two identical adjacent two-story buildings constructed during the 1940s for Lyons Furniture.

It had been used by Oregon Antique Mall for 25 years until it was emptied and purchased in 2017 for $2 million by a group of investors, including architects John Rowell and Greg Brokaw, downtown espresso shop owner Kaz Oveissi and development consultant Mark Miksis.

After the $4 million, nearly year-long renovation designed by Rowell Brokaw Architects, the structure has been dramatically changed. Its plain, graffiti-marred concrete and metal facade has been replaced with Douglas fir siding, black metal awnings and large windows that roll up like garage doors. A cantilevered roof that was made from Douglas fir boards salvaged in the renovation extends from the roof line.

Inside, false ceilings have been removed to reveal wooden beams.

After years of being covered by carpets, the original Douglas fir floors are being refinished to show their previous beauty.

The building is connected to the high-speed fiber network that was installed by the Eugene Water & Electric Board as part of a city-funded initiative.

The building is almost fully leased, though all of the tenants are in various stages of finishing their spaces and not yet moved in.

Rowell Brokaw will move a short distance from its present offices at East Broadway and Willamette Street and occupy a second-floor space. Watkinson Laird Rubenstein, a law firm, will move from East Broadway and Oak Street to occupy the other half of the second floor.

Trifoia, formerly Iris Education Media, plans to relocate from a building on East 10th Avenue, and lease about 4,000 square feet on the first floor.

The company’s 25 employees are eager to work in the mainly open office on a single floor, compared to their current mostly separate offices on two floors, said Galen Mittermann, director of finance, sales and marketing.

Trifoia produces research-based, mostly online training programs for educators and parents.

The firm’s new offices will help Trifoia attract new employees, Mittermann said. “We have seen this building sit vacant for awhile,” he said. The remodeling “makes it easier for us to attract talent, being in a fresh, new space and part of our downtown revitalization.”

But the women-owned businesses will be most visible to the public, occupying four of the five ground-floor retail spaces in the front of the building along Willamette Street. The fifth space has yet to be leased.

The $4 million renovation figure includes the landlord’s contribution to finishing the interior of leased spaces, but the tenants also are paying for improvements and equipment.

Here’s a rundown on the four signed tenants.

Claim 52 Kitchen

The craft brewer’s first brewpub with a kitchen and its own food service will occupy about 3,000 square feet and have seating for up to 125 people inside and another 35 outside during warmer months.

Claim 52 Brewing first started making beer six years ago in West Eugene, off Tyinn Street. In 2014, Claim 52 opened a small tap room, The Abbey, in the Sprout! Regional Food Hub, in downtown Springfield.

Neither outlet provides food to customers. The Abbey patrons can buy food from eateries elsewhere in the renovated former church and have it brought to them in the taproom. Customers at Claim 52 Brewing in West Eugene can buy from food trucks parked outside or bring their own.

“We understand the importance of having food with beer, of providing the balance,” Claim 52 co-owner Mercy McDonald said. “We see the difference (with food). Customers stay.”

Claim 52 Kitchen will have 15 taps, dispensing a variety of Claim 52 brews, including its best selling Fluffy IPA, plus wines, cider and kombucha from other providers on another nine taps.

The brewpub will operate similar to The Beer Stein, the popular bar and restaurant three blocks south on Willamette Street. Customers will order food and drink at a bar, and have their food delivered to them.

Lannon Cling, a South Eugene High School graduate who was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, is in charge of food.

“It’s going to be fun and approachable pub food, with an eye on creativity,” said Cling, who last operated The Dumpling Group food truck in Eugene. “I’m going to take what I have learned about pub food and apply what I know about fine dining to it.”

The planned menu has appetizers, such as garlic yucca tots; sandwiches, including “Croque Norvegien,” lox, emmental cheese on toasted brioche; and large plates,” such as chicken curry dumplings and different seasoned fried chicken drumsticks.

“We are going to do sandwiches, burgers and fries, all the usual suspects,” he said. “But everything will have a unique twist. Nothing will be boring.”

Customers will order beer and other beverages off a theater-style sign above the bar. Claim 52’s logo, created by Ali McQueen of Eugene, is featured on a wall mural painted by artist Justin Boggs, a UO graduate and Portland resident.

The logo has stylized images of the forest-covered south hills and Spencer Butte, plus the sun and moon, painted in shades of orange, blue, gray and black.

Claim 52 Kitchen is expected to open sometime in April.

Katie Brown

Katie Brown of Eugene sells her line of women’s clothing through a website, Katie Brown LA, and a Portland boutique, Adorn.

This month, Brown plans to open her own store — a 500-square-foot shop — in the renovated Willamette Street building.

A former restaurateur, Brown co-founded such Eugene restaurants as Red Agave, El Vaquero, Asado Grill and Asado Bistro. Brown started the restaurants with Sara Willis, who is opening Saucefly Market/Bar in a nearby retail space.

Brown said she’s looking forward to interacting with customers in her store.

“I so love the experience of having a physical location to come to and to create an in-person experience for (shoppers),” she said. “I missed that from the restaurant chapter of my life.”

Brown’s clothes are made in Los Angeles from sustainably sourced materials. She calls her dresses, skirts, tops and leggings “comfortable clothes that you feel great in.”

Her store, Katie Brown, will sell women’s clothes and accessories from other brands, too, plus men’s clothing from Save Khaki.

“I tested it on my 18-year-old son and he became addicted to the pieces,” Brown said. “I feel very comfortable that it’s going to be loved.”

Like the building’s other tenants, Brown had to wait for the renovation before she could start finishing the interior of her store.

She’s eager to open as soon as possible.

“It has been pushed back so many times before,” she said. “I have the merchandise and I am ready to go. I am very much looking forward to see it coming to life.”

Saucefly Market/Bar

Veteran Eugene restaurateur Sara Willis plans to feed as many people as possible from two places in the building.

The retail portion of Saucefly Market/Bar will be a 500-square-foot shop with seating for about 20 people, plus outside tables and chairs during warmer months.

Her retail outlet facing Willamette Street will be a combination restaurant and to-go food market.

The business will open in the morning, in time for downtown workers to buy coffee, fresh fruit, granola, freshly made banana bread and other items.

For lunch and dinner, customers will be able to buy hot items, including enchiladas, as well as sandwiches, salads and soups.

Willis also is leasing an 800-square-foot room in the back of the building. About half of that room will be occupied by a kitchen, where she will prepare the food for sale in the upfront retail space.

Willis will use the other half of the space as a dining room for private events and “pop-up dinners” for up to two dozen people.

In a pop-up dinner, customers who regularly get information about Willis’ latest culinary offerings through text messages or Instagram, will get notifications that later in the day she will serve specified items and drinks during a certain time.

For example, she might serve tacos and $5 beers from 8 p.m. until midnight, she said.

“I think it’s fun if people can handle it,” Willis said. “I hope I will have enough people who will be interested in that. I think I do.”

During the past 16 years, Willis has helped start such restaurants as Red Agave, El Vaquero, Asado and Carmelita Spats.

Willis is counting on carry-out items to appeal to downtown employees, including office workers elsewhere in the building, who may want to grab a lunch or something for dinner on the way home.

“You will be able to pick up fresh organic tortillas, some salsas, and shredded organic chicken and go home and make tacos,” she said.

Willis also hopes to attract downtown residents, including college students who live in the 13th/Olive complex across the street.

The market will sell beer, wine and spirits. Willis’ own line of mixers will be available for sale.

She said her outlet will be a similar, smaller version of Provisions, the gourmet food shop and eatery in the basement of Fifth Street Public Market.

“You will be eating within the shopping experience,” she said.

The floor of the store and backroom will be decorated with inlaid tile that Willis had made in Mexico. Willis said there’s significance to starting a business in a building at the same time as other women.

“It’s an example showing other young women entrepreneurs that they can do it,” she said.

Blue Bird Flowers

Vanessa Rover figures the time is right to start her first business doing what she likes best — working with flowers.

In April she plans to open Blue Bird Flowers, a stand in the lobby of 1203 Willamette St. She hopes office workers and customers of the restaurants and retail shops in the building will buy her flowers. She will have flowers in front of the building to attract other customers.

The building is “on a pretty heavily trafficked street, and I hope that people walk by and see all the beautiful flowers outside and want them,” she said.

Blue Bird Flowers will make downtown deliveries.

Rover wants to sell arrangements made with as many flowers and plants as possible from local and Northwest growers.

“There are certain things that thrive in Oregon,” she said. “Dahlias do real well here.”

Rover has worked with flowers since she was a teenager in San Diego.

“There is not a flower that I don’t like,” she said. “I’m just drawn to them. They are beautiful and they make people feel good. You don’t have a choice when you look at a flower.”

She’s worked in dozens of flower shops in southern California and Eugene, including Rhythm & Blooms.

She’s also been a bartender for the last 15 years.

Her friend Katie Brown, who is opening a clothing store in the building, suggested that she open the flower business.

Rover has been working three jobs — two as a bartender and one as a liquor delivery person — to help pay for the business.

The 36-year-old single mom will operate the stand with her 16-year-old son, Andrew.

With her son now old enough to help her, they both decided, “Let’s take the risk together,” Rover said.

The Palomino Blackwing 602

Architects are passionate about pens and pencils: their heft, smoothness, mark. For many, they hold a talismanic power. After heated debate in the office, the Palomino Blackwing 602 has emerged as a staff favorite.

Invented in 1934 by the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company, the Blackwing 602 has gained a kind of cult status. With its catchy slogan “Half the Pressure, Twice the Speed” and its, according to Wikipedia, “unique softness and smoothness of a 3B/4B lead but with the rate-of-wear of an HB,” the Blackwing 602 became the pencil of choice for many artists. To name a few: animators Chuck Jones (think Bugs Bunny) and Don Bluth (of Disney fame); writers John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Vladimir Nabokov, and E.B. White; and composers Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Aaron Copland. Even John Lennon was rumored to use a Blackwing 602. In the late 1990s after the machine that made the metal clip for the ferrule and eraser broke, the Blackwing 602 was discontinued. Prices surged. On eBay originals went for over $50. Luckily, in 2011 the Blackwing 602 was brought back on the market. Palamino, a division of the California Cedar Products Company, bought the brand.

Ever wonder how a pencil is made? Here’s an article from the New York Times with vivid pictures and a video from the General Pencil Company on the History Channel.

Live Web Cam of UO Tykeson Hall

Over winter break at the University of Oregon, Fortis Construction began to excavate the site for Tykeson Hall. They jump-started this process in order to minimize disruptions on campus. Now excavation has been completed and work on the foundation will begin. For live updates on construction, see the College of Arts and Sciences' website. Their menu also has a link for construction time-lapses.

Shadow Mentor Day 2018

As part of UO’s shadow mentor day, Mark Young hosted Paul Turner, a first-year undergraduate in the architecture department. The mentor day pairs students with professionals throughout Eugene, Portland, and Seattle. Students experience a “day in the life” or an actual work day in an actual work setting. At Rowell Brokaw, Mark walked Paul through some of his current projects, including Tykeson Hall. After sitting in on an engineering meeting with PAE, Paul circulated around the office to understand the range of work and experience other roles and perspectives. He also donned a headset and walked through RB's future office at 1203 Willamette. We hope Paul will come visit us again when we are in an intentional office rather than an inherited one. We also hope he got a sense of our office culture, which we think of as informal and passionate. At the end of his visit, Paul asked Mark some provocative questions:

P: What would you say to your younger self?

M: It’s a badge of honor for architecture students to say how much they’ve stayed up and worked, but when you’re in the profession and you have families, you learn to be more efficient while doing better quality work. You get more experience and you learn how to manage your time and thoughts more constructively. It makes sense when you’re starting out that you don’t know what you need to have and more always seems better. And there still is this weird architecture culture, this rite of passage, that permeates through school and some offices. You do have to be hardworking to be an architect; it’s not always 9-5. If there’s a thing to do, you do it. And you're willing to do it because you like your work. But the sweatshop mentality of "the more the better" is often a result of just not being smart with your time. It takes experience. It’s perfectly excusable until you’ve done projects and you know what it takes to deliver a project.

P: What does it take to be an architect?

M: Stay curious and interested. Be open to new ideas and learning.

Storm Damage Repair Projects at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology

A harsh winter storm in 2016 damaged parts of the The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), a marine station owned by the University of Oregon and located on 100-acres in Charleston, at the mouth of Coos Bay. RB has been performing roof replacements, road repair, and dock repair. The OIMB offers undergraduate and graduate students an array of courses in marine biology, including marine birds and mammals, the biology of fishes, deep-sea and subtidal ecology, and marine environmental issues. The institute is comprised of teaching laboratories, research facilities, dormitories, the Loyd and Dorothy Rippey Library, and the Charleston Marine Life Center, an aquarium and museum.

Annual UO AIAS Reverse Crit

From left to right: Frank Visconti, Patrick A. McKechnie, Kurt Albrecht, Chuck Bailey, and Nir Pearlson.

Rowell Brokaw participated in this year's Reverse Crit. The event took place at the Hayden Gallery in the University of Oregon's College of Design and was hosted by the UO chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in partnership with AIA-SWO. Students had the opportunity to turn the tables and weigh in on architects' current, real-world projects. Frank Visconti presented the Eureka Veterans and Homeless Housing project and garnered an award for Spatial Composition.

UO President Michael H. Schill Eloquently Discusses the Importance of Tykeson Hall

President discusses the foundations being laid for the future

Jan. 12, 2018

UO President Michael H. Schill sent the following 'Open Mike' message to the campus community:

Dear colleagues and friends,

As I write this Open Mike, I feel the earth move under my feet. Before you get concerned that I am singing Carole King songs (she is one of my favorites) or having a nightmare about the Cascadia Subduction Zone, you should understand that just outside my office massive trucks and bulldozers are busy breaking ground for the new Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, the college and careers building. Since the start of the term, construction crews have been diligently digging, hammering, and preparing the site for a stunning new building that will open in fall 2019. It is noisy; it is loud; and sometimes it feels like the earth really is moving, but it is all for a great and important cause.

The Tykeson building will not only be placed at a central location on our beautiful campus; in many ways it will serve as a new center of gravity for our efforts connected to the single most important objective we all share—helping our students succeed. It will provide us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to refocus and rethink how we deliver academic and career advising to our students, all under one roof. In addition to adding much-needed office and classroom space to campus, the new building will house College of Arts and Sciences advising services and the UO Career Center. It will provide an integrated approach to advising that will help students consider their career options and then work to devise an academic plan for getting there.

The construction of Tykeson Hall is the latest chapter of the conversation we started three months after I took office about the importance of doing everything we can to enable our students to succeed. So much has happened since I stood in front of campus at the EMU and made the case that on-time graduation promotes a student’s likelihood of earning a diploma and substantially reduces the cost of college. We have already seen modest increases in carrying loads, retention, and graduation rates. While I am pleased that we have made progress, there is much, much more to accomplish.

Over the next year we will work with academic advisors in the Division of Undergraduate Studies, the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence, PathwayOregon, and all the schools and colleges to improve and enhance coordination through creation of a unified academic advising action plan. The important work of improving our student success efforts is being led by Provost Jayanth Banavar and Dennis Galvan, the interim vice provost and dean for undergraduate studies. You can expect to see changes throughout the university to support these efforts in the coming year. We cannot let our decentralized administrative structure stand in the way of our students’ success—and we won’t.

Today’s students need more than just a degree: they need assistance and guidance in landing jobs that meet their needs and aspirations. We owe it to future generations of students and to those who gave to this endeavor to get this right. We must break down silos between administrative divisions and schools to devise the sort of comprehensive resources and advising that will prepare our students for fulfilling careers in a fast-moving and increasingly global economy. In addition, we must create more high-impact opportunities for students to work with the faculty and more avenues for them to gain experiential education, such as internships and study abroad.

While the construction crews are building a strong foundation for the Tykeson building, we must start now to lay the programmatic foundation for long-term success. This is one of my top priorities for 2018....

 I hope you’ll join me in the effort to stay focused on the things that matter most—moving heaven and earth to help our students succeed and building an academic program of distinction.


Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law

Amazon Corner Construction Update

Construction is moving along at Amazon Corner in South Eugene. Having completed the post-tensioned slabs of the basement and first floor, Essex Construction is installing the wood wall framing for the housing units. Before the weather turned, walls were being pre-fabricated on-site through a makeshift assembly line. Once completed, a stack of walls was lifted by a crane onto the building floor plate and then each wall was tilted into place. Currently, workers are constructing more traditional stud walls. In the installation of the floors, workers are hanging floor joists from the wall framing—a technique that has become standard in Portland. Many structural engineers prefer this method for a host of reasons: it eliminates rim boards, uses less wood product overall, may reduce building height shrinkage, and offers better insulative performance.

Sculpture of Meteorite Installed in Straub Hall Atrium

Artist Garrick Imatani has completed the second phase of his permanent exhibit in the atrium of Straub Hall at the University of Oregon. For phase one, Imatani painted a mural of the Willamette River Basin. For phase two, he installed a sculpture of the Willamette Meteorite. In the development of this project, Imatani was compelled by the meteorite's geologic and human history: “Despite not even being from this planet, this extraterrestrial rock still manages to be a container for the complicated and often fraught politics of this region….”

Roughly 14,000 years ago, the indigenous peoples of the Willamette Valley discovered the meteorite, which had landed in Canada or Montana before, as part of the Missoula Floods, floating down and settling in the Willamette Valley. Tomanowos, or "the visitor from the sky," became a sacred object in tribes' ceremonies. At the turn of the century, the meteorite was rediscovered near West Linn, Oregon, by a settler. After some controversy in ownership, the meteorite was sold to a socialite who ultimately donated it to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, where it resides today.

Every year members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde travel to the AMNH to conduct private ceremonies with the meteorite. Imatani accompanied members of the tribes to, with their permission, 3D scan the meteorite. The completed sculpture based on these scans now hangs in the center of the atrium at Straub Hall “with,” in the artist’s words, “a harness of ropes to imply a sense of suspended motion or time, as well as its own history of travel.” The third and final part of the exhibit will be photographic diptychs that combine archival images with modern reenactments. Imatani is currently arranging a blessing ceremony of the sculpture by members of the Grand Ronde. 

Happy Holidays!


This year the Rowell Brokaw annual holiday party was cruise themed. Throughout the afternoon, there were shuffleboard, ping pong, Nerf gun, and Jenga battles.

Rowell Brokaw wins Interiors Award and a Mayor's Choice Award in 2017 AIA/SWO People's Choice Awards

The AIA-SWO annual People's Choice Awards results are in! This year there was a record 52 entries. Rowell Brokaw entered 5 boards and was pleased to win the Interiors Award and a Mayor's Choice Award. Check out the video of Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis sharing her reasons for selecting 1203 Willamette among her award choices. Below is a list of the award winners in all 11 categories. To view all 52 boards, visit the AIA website.

2017 People's Choice Award Winners

Mayor's Choice Winners
- Lone Rock Resources, Robertson Sherwood Architects
- 1203 Willamette, Rowell Brokaw Architects
- Eve Micro Housing, Michael Fifield Architect

Colleagues’ Choice Winners
- Roosevelt Middle School, Robertson Sherwood Architects

People’s Choice Winners
- Commercial: Timbers Inn Lounge - Nir Pearlson Architect
- Interiors: Hot Mama's Kitchen and Bar - Rowell Brokaw Architects
- General Landscape Private: - From Forgotten to Fantastic - Stangeland & Associates
- Multi-Family Landscape: Siuslaw Interetive Park, Dougherty Landscape Architects
- Multi-Family Housing: The Oaks at 14th - Bergsund Delaney Architecture & Planning Architects
- Master Planning:  Plan Clayton - The Urban Collaborative
- Parklet Design: IM.A.BENCH - PIVOT Architecture
- Public/Institutional - Valley Football Center - HNTB Architecture
- Single Family Residential - Christianson Passive House - Studio-E Architecture
- Student/Emerging Professional: Taylor Street Food Hall - Nicholas Paino
- Unbuilt: Eugene Civlc Park - Robertson Sherwood Architects, Skylab Architecture

Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis shared with the AIA-SWO audience her reasons for selecting 1203 Willamette.