The Community Rallies for Jefferson Library

Article in Corvallis Gazette-Times

Jefferson moves books into new library

By Anthony Rimel
Corvallis Gazette-Times
October 21, 2018

The original plan was to form a human chain to pass the contents of the old Jefferson Public Library from one person to another over the roughly one-block distance from the old library to the new.

But, at the start of the move Saturday morning, there weren’t quite enough people for the human chain. Instead, the volunteers simply carried books by the armload over the distance, with a handful of people lugging books and fixtures around in handcarts.

Linda Baker, president of the Jefferson Oregon Friends of the Library, said just having people carry the books was always the "Plan B" if they couldn’t make the human chain work.

But making things work is what Baker and around 10 other core members of the Friends of the Library are good at. Over the last decade, they've raised $800,000 to build the new library, all from private donations and grants.

“I’ve been walking around the last three days saying ‘wow, it really happened,’ Baker said. “We have been at this 10 years.”

Baker said volunteers moved around 5,000 items Saturday, not the library’s entire collection, but a significant chunk. There were at least 50 volunteers helping at the start of the moving session and Baker said there may have been as many as 150 who pitched in with the move throughout the day.

Baker said the new library will be accessible under Americans with Disabilities Act standards, unlike the old library in the historic Joseph Conser House. It will also have more space for the collection and other library services.

“It’s going to allow visits from more people,” she said, adding that she was expecting the library’s average of 1,200 visitors a month to increase.

She said for Jefferson, the library is more than books: it’s a place where people can use a computer to search for a job, borrow a movie or participate in things like the summer reading program.

Chris Studer, of Jefferson, said he helped out with the move because his grandmother had been a librarian in Jefferson. He added that seeing what the friends of the library were able to accomplish was extraordinary.

“They’ve been at it a while. Pretty much everyone told them they couldn’t do it and they did.”

Sam Schwarz, a Jefferson High School senior, was part of a trio of the high school’s musicians who led the procession from the old library to the new.

He said before the move he didn’t really appreciate how significant it was to be part of the effort to move books into the new library for the first time, but watching the event caused him to change his tune.

“It’s kind of a historic event," he said. "When we come back we’re going to be able to say we were part of the move.”

The library officially opens Oct. 30, Baker said, if things go according to plan. She added donations are still needed for the library. Donations can be made to the Jefferson Oregon Friends of the Library at P.O. Box 656, Jefferson, OR, 97352 or

Oregon Pacific Bank Featured in Oregon Business

OPB Staff.jpg

Article in Oregon Business

Branching Out

By Jay Shenai
Oregon Business
October 8, 2018

Oregon Pacific Bank breaks ground for a new way of banking.

A new branch for Oregon Pacific Bank is opening in Eugene just in time for the holidays. The opening of the 59 E. 11th Street location, targeted for early December, sends a signal of the bank’s commitment to partner with the community and its local businesses.

Until then, please pardon the construction.

According to Ellen Huntingdon, Marketing Coordinator for the Florence-based bank, work in the new building began in earnest this past summer. Walls and carpets were torn out for a complete interior redesign in late August.

“The building interior is going through a fairly extensive and much-needed face-lift.” Huntingdon said.

Local firms McKenzie Commercial Contractors, Inc. and Rowell Brokaw Architects were brought in to do the job, which involved removal of office doors, adding of storefront windows, and new everything: new carpet, new floor tiles, new teller rows, new conference rooms, and a new kitchen.

“What we want to do is really lighten up the space, both for our clients and for staff working there,” she said.

When it opens its doors, the flagship branch will have a drive-through teller window and a deposit-taking ATM, as well as a night-drop deposit box. The branch will be well equipped to offer comprehensive banking services, but will focus on its core strategies of providing business banking solutions, trust services and wealth management.

“We will be able to cater to the entirety of the financial life cycle, whether community members are looking to retire, looking to open a business, or are somewhere in between,” Huntingdon said.

The new branch building is part of a response to recent industry mergers and acquisitions that left the Eugene and Springfield markets without two of its locally based banking institutions, according to Ron Green, Bank President and CEO.

In early 2015, the Florence-based Siuslaw Financial Group and Bank was purchased by Banner Corporation to merge with Banner Bank. And in November of 2017, a deal to purchase Pacific Continental Bank was finalized by Columbia Bank.
“The mergers left a void in the Eugene-Springfield area, and created a niche for the services of an additional community bank,” Green said. “One with decisions made in the local area, one inherently invested in the success of the community.”

“Because we’re [headquartered] in the Lane County area, the local economic and social infrastructure must be strong for us to succeed,” Green said.

“We’re committed to the success of the communities we serve, all in,” he said.

A thirty-nine year old bank, it opened its Eugene branch in 2015 as a trust and loan production office on the 6th floor of the Citizen’s Building on Oak Street, and expanded in 2016 into full-service banking. The recent mergers created opportunity that the bank wanted to seize upon. Additional capital was raised in 2017, which led to the hiring of more than a dozen local banking professionals from one of the institutions that merged with an out-of-state company. The expansion far outpaced the capacity of the original office space.

“The need for additional space presented us the opportunity to pursue a location that had improved visibility and easy access for our clients,” Huntingdon said. “It was the perfect time to reach out and make that next step to grow into our own building.”

One of the exciting opportunities a larger presence in the Eugene area presents is the ability to offer a greater amount of support to local area nonprofit organizations. Since its founding in 1979, Oregon Pacific Bank has been a strong partner and resource for community organizations, from flexible lending structures and monetary donations, to utilizing their workforce for volunteer activities.

“We have an active culture of caring at Oregon Pacific Bank, in that we encourage our employees to participate and volunteer within the communities we serve,” said Huntingdon. “As part of our benefits package, we offer our employees one hour a week to volunteer during their paid work schedule and in addition to that many of our employees also serve on local nonprofit boards and committees.”

This mission of caring for the community aligns well with the bank’s day-to-day business, one that Oregon Pacific Bank hopes will have a direct impact on the economic strength of Eugene area business owners.

“The deposits that we collect in the Eugene market we turn around and invest right back into the businesses in the Eugene area,” Huntingdon said.

It’s part of what makes Oregon Pacific Bank unique, according to Huntingdon. “Our mission is to work together with our partners to make their future better,” she said.

“We will do that in a way that’s anything but ordinary.”

When completed, the branch will also be one of the only banks in the area to also offer in-house wealth management that includes estate planning and the ability to settle estates after the passing of a loved one.

“That’s a tremendous value, many don’t often realize,” Green said. “We’re very proud of the ability to take care of our local families in a time that they are in true need of unbiased and objective financial assistance.”

In the meantime, the bank will continue to prepare for the opening of their new Eugene branch, currently planned for early December, according to Green.

“Be on the lookout for several HGTV-inspired Web videos sharing the progress of the new office,” Huntingdon said, “in addition to some editions of the bank’s video series, #AskTheBanker, shot on location.”

Anticipate an open house event and a ribbon cutting, as well as other community events yet to be determined, according to Green.

“We welcome the Eugene community to come and visit once our new branch is open,” Green says, “and prepare for a different kind of banking experience!”

Full Steam Ahead: Steam Plant Redevelopment Featured in Register-Guard

Andy Nelson/Register-Guard

Article in the Register-Guard

Eugene selects deChase Miksis Development team to renovate downtown steam plant

By Elon Glucklich
The Register-Guard
August 28, 2018

Eugene officials are putting their faith in a group of prominent local developers, architects and business executives to transform the former Eugene Water & Electric Board steam plant.

The city announced Tuesday that it had picked a team led by Mark Miksis of deChase Miksis Development and Arcimoto CEO Mark Frohnmayer to submit a formal proposal for the 87-year-old steam plant’s redevelopment. City officials chose the team over two other groups that expressed interest earlier this year.

The Miksis group outlined plans in June to turn the long-vacant, 50-foot-tall steam plant into a vibrant retail, restaurant and office building with amenities such as a ground-floor tap room, business and classroom space, and a rooftop deck with prime Willamette River views.

Now the group has been asked to submit a detailed plan for the renovation, which it estimates costing between $18 million and $25 million. The group and the city hope to finish the project in time for the 2021 World Track & Field Championships, along with a wider transformation of the former EWEB operations yard by Portland-based Williams/Dame & Associates.

“The people we have on this team have been working on this project a long time, so we’re not coming in cold,” Miksis said. “This team goes back to 2015, when we were looking at a possible plan for the steam plant. We do have a lot of good ideas and a fair understanding of the challenges in the building, and we’re definitely excited for having the opportunity.”

Miksis’ development team also includes deChase Miksis Development partner Dean Papé, Rowell Brokaw Architects executives John Rowell and Greg Brokaw, Falling Sky Brewing owner Rob Cohen, Arcimoto Vice President Jesse Fittipaldi, retired architect and historic preservation specialist Don Peting, and Technology Association of Oregon Vice President Matt Sayre, as well as Jason Thompson, principal with Portland-based Catena Consulting Engineers.

Miksis has helped spearhead several large projects in Eugene, including Crescent Village’s commercial core in the northeast part of the city, the Northwest Community Credit Union building across East Sixth Avenue from the steam plant and the recent major remodel of a former retail building on Willamette Street into a dining, retail and office building.

His group’s submission to the city included statements of creditworthiness from two financial institutions. Miksis said his group is now looking into the feasibility and cost of various plans for the steam plant, which EWEB decommissioned in 2012 after building it in 1931 to house steam boilers and turbines.

The building is in poor condition, with broken windows, peeling paint and a laundry list of overdue upkeep.

“There’s a lot of due diligence yet to occur on this,” Miksis said, “but I think the city felt we had the best grasp of the opportunities and limitations of this project and the best ability to execute on the project by 2021.”

The city plans to hold community forums in the fall to get input on the project, Eugene business development analyst Amanda D’Souza said. There’s no formal timeline for the development, but the city hopes to have a clearer sense of the possibilities for the steam plant by the end of the year, she said.

We’re going to move as quickly as we can, but we also don’t fully understand the picture of what we’re walking into yet,” D’Souza said. “We’re starting that deep dive into the status of the building and figuring out exactly what they’re proposing.”

Tykeson Hall's Crane Featured in the Daily Emerald

(Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

Article in the Daily Emerald

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, Ray 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. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

In Eugene, Ray 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. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

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.

2018 AIA / SWO Design Awards

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. 



Arts and Technology Academy

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.”



1203 Willamette

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.”



Roseburg Forest Products Headquarters

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 River District Rendering featured in Register-Guard


Article in the Register-Guard

Eugene residents want mix of natural, urban features in Willamette riverfront park

By Ed Russo
The Register-Guard
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.

What’s next

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:

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.

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

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.

Tykeson Hall Featured in Register-Guard

Model by Office 52

Note: Rowell Brokaw is the executive architect for Tykeson Hall.

Article in the Register-Guard

By Saul Hubbard
The Register-Guard
October 13, 2017

The University of Oregon is preparing to build a major new student advising and career center at the heart of its campus.

The $39 million building, named after the late Eugene businessman Don Tykeson and his wife, Willie, who contributed $10 million, also will include six classrooms and house the College of Arts and Sciences administrative offices on its upper floors.

Tykeson Hall’s key ­purpose is to place a significant number of the UO’s existing ­academic and career advisers in a ­central location to make those services more ­accessible for ­undergraduates, said ­Andrew Marcus, dean of the College of Arts and ­Sciences.

Under the current, fragmented system, “students pretty quickly give up and just start talking to one other,” he said. “They don’t realize the services that are available to them.”

Construction on ­Tykeson Hall is expected to ­begin in December and last until the start of the 2019 academic year.

The building, designed by Portland firm Office 52, will feature “classic campus architecture” with “modern, spacious design,” according to UO officials.

It will total 64,000 square feet across five floors, including a below-ground level. The original plan was for a less expensive, 50,000-square-foot building, but it was expanded, at UO ­President Michael Schill’s direction, to provide more classroom and student advising space.

The new building will be wedged between Johnson Hall, the red brick home of the UO’s administration, and Chapman Hall, the hub of the school’s honors college, which is undergoing a $10.5 million renovation.

Tykeson Hall will replace a 42-spot parking lot now used by UO administrators. The university already has built a new, smaller replacement parking lot for administrators on the other side of Johnson Hall. “I don’t think students will even be aware the parking lot is gone,” Marcus said.

Noise during construction may prove disruptive; however, university officials warn, given the site’s central location near lots of classrooms and offices.

In addition to the Tykesons’ gift, the UO received $17 million in bonds from the Legislature in 2015 and other ­donations ­totaling $6.4 million. That leaves the ­university $5.6 million short of the ­project’s expected ­price tag, but Marcus said he doesn’t anticipate ­trouble plugging the gap.

The university hopes to use the building’s ­classrooms as a magnet for students and expose them to advisers available to them. The UO will schedule introductory composition and math classes, taken by about 9,000 students a year, for Tykeson Hall. “Just like in a grocery stores you put eggs and milk in the back of the store so that people have to walk through the aisles and look at the potato chips on the way there, we have classrooms to draw students into this building,” Marcus said.

Funnily enough, UO’s Tykeson Hall won’t be the only building with that name at an Oregon public university. The first academic building at Oregon State University’s Cascades Campus in Bend, which opened last year, also goes by Tykeson Hall. The Tykeson family has been a longtime supporter of OSU’s satellite campus project.

Eugene mourns the passing of philanthropist Don Tykeson

Don Tykeson, a communications pioneer, died July 12 in Eugene. He was a philanthropic leader in education, the arts, science, and health. As an alumnus of the University of Oregon, he has been a committed advocate for UO students and faculty. Most recently, he and his wife Willie donated $10 million toward student success in the liberal arts. The result is the Tykeson Hall College and Careers Building.

To learn more about Don Tykeson’s life:

Opening of Glade Run Sensory Playground featured in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Photograph by Anna Spoerre

Article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

By Anna Spoerre
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
June 24, 2017

A new play area in Zelienople may look like a regular playground, but for the kids at Glade Run Lutheran Services it is so much more.

The playground, which is scheduled to have its public grand opening on Tuesday, is one of less than a dozen playgrounds in the country designed specifically with autistic children in mind.

“As there are more and more kids being diagnosed [with an autism spectrum disorder], it’s more and more important for us to have an appropriate environment for them,” said Sheila Talarico, executive director of the Glade Run Foundation.

The playground first opened for about 60 students in the autism program at St. Stephens Lutheran Academy in May. But on Thursday afternoon, a dozen kids from the first week of the Glade Run’s specialized adventure camp for autistic children, explored the area, some running straight to the Jacob’s ladder and others to the swings.

Even an afternoon shower couldn’t dampen their curiosity as a group of five kids took shelter in the fort, occasionally volunteering one of their peers to brave the rain and fetch ripe blueberries from the bushes lining the fences.

Those blueberries, Ms. Talarico said, are part of what sets the playground apart most.

The fruit bushes are just one of the many uses of nature in the design. Day lilies, lavender and rosemary plants are clustered near the benches and other quiet areas.

“Every child with autism is so different,” said Christopher Smith, Program Manager of Autism Educational Services at Glade Run Lutheran Services, a non-profit that provides provides educational, mental health, autism, and cultural services to more than 3,000 individuals every year. 

For this reason, Mr. Smith said, the park is geared toward providing more or less sensory output, depending on a child’s needs. The plants can be calming while also engaging the senses.

On the flipside, loud noises, bright colors and a lot of activity—all common to most playgrounds—can cause sensory input overload for some children, so the playground was designed without bright colors, Ms. Talarico said.

Mr. Smith also said children with autism often have the feeling of an added heaviness on their joints and muscles, so a lot of the equipment provides relief by helping them stretch out.

Bobble riders, for example, are designed for two people to ride opposite each other, almost like a teeter totter, while improving balance, coordination, and upper and lower body strength.

The play area, which is about the size of half a football field, also encourages socialization because many of the pieces of equipment require at least two people to operate, Ms. Talarico said.

“The culture has improved tenfold since the sensory playground was put into place,” said Mr. Smith, who added he has noticed a decrease in negative behavior since the space allows kids who tend to be more aggressive to let off steam by running around the circular pathway in the center of the park-like area or to find a quiet place to sit and calm down.

“In a typical playground, kids and adults might be less accepting of the behavior of kids with autism.,” Ms. Talarico said. But here, that is not the case.

Karey Day, the mother of 8-year-old Evan, who attends St. Stephens and the day camp, said the quiet places pieced into the ground plan are especially beneficial to her son.

“He has trouble getting along with other children and…here there are places for him to go to get away from different stresses,” said Ms. Day, of Butler. “Glade Run has helped my child a lot, and this is just another bonus.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground, which Ms. Talarico said was funded primarily by donations from individuals, corporations and congregations, is at noon Tuesday in Zelienople.

Spotlight on 1203 Willamette in The Register-Guard

(Rendering by Rowell Brokaw)


By Ed Russo
The Register-Guard
February 26, 2017

A group of Eugene developers plans to add life to a downtown building they say now contributes to a dead zone in the heart of the city.

Mark Miksis, John Rowell, Greg Brokaw, Kaz Oveissi and other investors intend to buy the vacant building on Willamette Street that formerly housed the Oregon Antique Mall and renovate it for use by several businesses, including a couple of their own.

Miksis, a development consultant, said he and the other investors expect to buy the two-story 1940s era building at 1203 Willamette St. by the end of April from the local Lyons family.

Renovation should start in May and the first tenants could move in by the fall, he said. Expected businesses to occupy space in the building include a craft beer tap house, an architecture firm, a tech company and a gourmet prepared foods store.

The building, empty for about two years, is midway between 11th and 13th avenues, across Willamette Street from the massive Capstone student housing complex.

The investors also plan to purchase a nearby rental house at the end of April that’s owned by the Lyons family. The purchase of the commercial and residential properties will include parking lots with spaces for 58 vehicles.

Miksis and architect Greg Brokaw declined to provide the purchase price for the properties, but said the total cost of the acquisitions and the renovation of the commercial building will be about $6 million.

Miksis said the empty building contributes to a lifelessness on Willamette Street, between the busier midtown area south of 13th Avenue, and the active downtown core, north of 11th Avenue.

Miksis walks from his College Hill home in south Eugene to his office on the east edge of downtown. He said he had passed by the building for two years, intrigued by its redevelopment potential.

“I have wondered why nobody has done anything with this building,” he said.

“We are in what we call the sweet spot between midtown, which includes the Bier Stein and the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, and downtown. They are both active areas. But if you go one block north of midtown, in this direction, you hit this dead zone. A lot of it is because of this building being vacant.”

“This building seemed to be one of the key pieces to making that link between midtown and downtown,” Miksis added.

If renovated, the building would be the second redevelopment on that part of Willamette Street since the Capstone project was completed three years ago.

Longtime local developer Roscoe Divine in 2015 completed a two-story, 8,400-square-foot apartment and retail building to replace a building at 1167 Willamette St. that had destroyed by a fire. A Japanese sushi restaurant, Makoto, occupies the first floor.

Seeing potential

Two years ago, Miksis and Brokaw were part of an investment group that proposed to buy Broadway Plaza at Broadway and Willamette Street from the city so they could build a six-story apartment and retail building on it.

Brokaw owns Rowell Brokaw Architects with John Rowell, who also was part of the investment group with Oveissi, a longtime downtown business owner.

Frequently occupied by transients, the plaza has long been a trouble spot in the city center. But the City Council failed to embrace the developers’ proposal after a community debate erupted between residents who wanted the city to keep the plaza and others who thought the apartment retail building would be an improvement.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to invest in downtown,” Miksis said. “We’re interested in projects that we can move forward with, so that is where our energy is going.”

Miksis and Brokaw said renovating the building will be quicker, easier and less expensive than building a new structure.

Brokaw, Rowell and Oveissi own the three-story building at 1 East Broadway, on the northeast corner of Willamette and Broadway that overlooks Broadway Plaza.

The architects plan to move their 19-employee firm to the Willamette Street building after the renovation. Rowell Brokaw Architects will occupy about half of the second-floor space, Brokaw said.

“We have 3,000 square feet in our present building, and we have been looking for 5,000 square feet,” he said.

That’s a change from last year, when Rowell, Brokaw and Oveissi had planned to build a four-story office building at 33 E. Broadway, on a parking lot next to 1 East Broadway. The original plan was for Rowell Brokaw Architects to move next door and occupy part of the new structure.

Now, with the Willamette Street building identified as the architecture firm’s next home, Brokaw said he and his partners are willing to develop the East Broadway building for another user. The partners would work with the Eugene office of Portland-based Anderson Construction to develop the building once enough tenants are found to occupy it.

Renovation details

Two-and-a-half blocks north, the 36,000-square-foot Willamette Street building is composed of two identical adjacent two-story structures constructed during the 1940s for Lyons Furniture, Miksis said.

A 12,000-square-foot building was constructed in the early 1940s, followed by another 12,000-square-foot addition in about 1948, Miksis said. Interior doors allowed access between both halves. The building has a 12,000-square-foot basement.

Oregon Antique Mall occupied the building for 25 years, before moving in 2014 to a smaller storefront on West Sixth Avenue.

The building is made of poured reinforced concrete and large Douglas fir columns and beams, Miksis and Brokaw said.

The renovation will remove paneling and false ceilings to expose the heavy timber construction, Miksis said.

“We are going to peel back what has been applied to the walls and have a fairly unique and interesting looking building,” he said.

Brokaw said the two-story structure is a “classic loft building,” similar to those found in Portland’s trendy Pearl District.

“You don’t see a lot of that here,” he said.

The building’s present plain grafitti-marred concrete and metal facade will be replaced with glass and wood, including windows that roll up like garage doors and glued laminated timber beams. A cantilevered roof will extend from the roof line.

A new entrance will be installed in the middle of the two structures, with an eight foot wide by 22-foot tall concrete slab providing structural strength, Brokaw said.

“It’s a long skinny building on the street, and (the central entrance) will help break that up,” he said.

Essex General Construction will be the general contractor.

Leasing plans

Miksis, a development consultant and co-owner of deChase Miksis with Boise-based Dean Papè, said he will move his office to the Willamette Street building from its present rented space in the Northwest Community Credit Union building near East Eighth Avenue and Ferry Street.

Miksis said he has commitments to lease about 60 percent of the first and second floors of the Willamette Street building. He said likely tenants include a local brewery, that will put in a tap house, and a tech firm.

The building will have access to a high speed fiber network being installed by the Eugene Water & Electric Board as part of a city-funded initiative.

Veteran Eugene restaurateur Sara Willis plans to move her latest venture, Saucefly, a gourmet prepared foods business, to the building in the fall.

During the past 15 years, Willis has helped start such restaurants as Red Agave, El Vaquero, Asado and Carmelita Spats.

Now, she prepares restaurant-quality sauces, marinades, salad dressings, salsas, cookie dough, cocktail mixers and other items in a small commercial kitchen in west Eugene.

Willis, who began Saucefly last August, so far has about 50 customers who receive monthly boxes with items they use to prepare meals.

People place orders through a website.

“I create boxes for people who like to cook,” Willis said.

She said she will move her kitchen to the Willamette Street building and create a store, tentatively named Saucefly Mercado.

Willis has chosen a space in the back of the building, which will enable customers to park near the door.

She plans to rent 1,200-square feet on the first floor and another 800 square feet in the basement.

“It has a real good warehouse type feel that I’m looking for in this project,” Willis said.

Jefferson Library featured in Democrat-Herald

Photograph by Godofredo Vasquez

"Groundbreaking set for new Jefferson Library"

By Kyle Odegard
Albany Democrat-Herald
February 6, 2017

JEFFERSON – Residents have worked since 2009 to create a new library for this small town, and their efforts are finally paying off.

A groundbreaking for the new Jefferson Public Library, which will be adjacent to City Hall, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 23.

“I’m giddy,” said Linda Baker, president of the Friends of the Jefferson Library. “This group has worked a long time.”

She hopes that the building will be finished and occupied before the end of the year. “That’s our goal. One never knows,” Baker added.

The building is being paid for through donations and grants totaling $850,000. The city also donated land for the project. (In 2014, the city purchased the lot, which also could include an extension of City Hall, for $150,000.)

“It’s been a long time coming, and the city is really in support of this,” said City Recorder Sarah Cook.

The library building, which will include a community meeting room, will be about 4,000 square feet.

“The current library is about 800 square feet,” Baker said. That library has been in a wing of the Conser House, 128 N. Main Street, since 1938. But the 1854 structure needs repairs, it isn’t accessible to the disabled and it is extremely cramped.

Librarian Katherine Pitman said that she struggles to find room for all the DVDs and books in the facility. “This is the teen section, and we just added two new shelves, because everything was packed to the end,” she added.

“I definitely want more space for kids to be able to read and for people to be able to use their computers,” Pitman said.

Baker said a meeting room will be a plus for the town, as the Jefferson Community Center, the city’s main gathering place, is usually booked. “There also will be a courtyard area, so hopefully the library can open up to the courtyard for special events,” she said.

Tensions rose last year as the city and the Friends of the Library disagreed about certain aspects of the project. But things were smoothed over when the Jefferson Planning Commission approved the project in May.

Baker said that the new library could still use donations to cover inflation and other unforeseen expenses, which can be made online at or sent to the Jefferson Friends of the Library at P.O. Box 656, Jefferson, OR 97352.

Britni Jessup receives 20 Under 40 Award

By Sherri Buri McDonald, blue chip
The Register-Guard
December 5, 2016

20 UNDER 40

Britni Jessup

Architect, Rowell Brokaw Architects; Age: 35

Britni Jessup has brought a new focus on interior architecture to Rowell Brokaw in Eugene and shared her skills, in and out of architecture, as a volunteer in the community.

Jessup is one of only three interior architects in Eugene accredited by the National Council of Interior Design Qualification, according to a letter nominating her for a 20 Under 40 award.

“In just a few short years with Rowell Brokaw Architects, she has led interior design projects for high-profile public and private clients,” Angie Marzano, business development director for BRING Recycling, wrote in the nomination letter.

Recent projects include two of the largest lecture halls at the University of Oregon: a 509-seat room in Straub Hall and a 451-seat room in Columbia Hall. Jessup also has helped design the interiors of Northwest Community Credit Union’s headquarters in Eugene and the offices of Roseburg, a wood products company, in Springfield’s Gateway area.

“Her work focuses on designing total interior environments that fulfill the unique goals and aspirations of companies and institutions, branding their physical workplace identity and creating innovative work environments,” Marzano said.

Jessup earned bachelor’s degrees in business administration and Spanish at the University of Washington. She earned a master’s degree in architecture at the University of Oregon.

Jessup actively volunteers in local schools and libraries. She is a member of the Eugene Public Library Foundation’s Imagination Library Advisory Board. Jessup and two other parents of children at Buena Vista Spanish Immersion School started a green initiative to help make the school more sustainable.

Jessup is a former University of Washington volleyball player . She is assistant varsity volleyball coach at Sheldon High School and part owner in Blue Skies Beach Club, a beach volleyball group that organizes camps, clinics and tournaments .

“She is young, dynamic and deserves to be standing among a group of business professionals nominated for this award,” Marzano said.

33 East Broadway project featured in Register Guard

A permit was put in this month to build a four-story office building, dubbed “33 East Broadway,” on a parking lot just one-eighth of an acre in size, next to the One East Broadway building Rowell Brokaw Architects owns and works out of. (rendering by Rowell Brokaw)


By Elon Glucklich
The Register-Guard
MAY 29, 2016

Architects Greg Brokaw and John Rowell and business owner Kaz Oveissi are close to breaking ground on a significant new building in downtown Eugene.

But this isn’t the controversial on-hold proposal to build an apartment and retail building on Broadway Plaza, the city-owned public space known better as Kesey Square.

Rather, the group applied for a permit this month to build a four-story office building, dubbed “33 East Broadway,” on a parking lot just one-eighth of an acre in size, next to the One East Broadway building Rowell Brokaw Architects owns and works out of.

The tiny parking lot backs onto the Park Blocks.

The building figures to be a major infill project for downtown Eugene, rising 60 feet, Brokaw said. The One East Broadway building, directly across from Kesey Square, is just 35 feet tall.

The new building would be nearly as tall as the Wells Fargo bank building, 33 East Broadway’s neighbor to the east.

The partners have been working on the plan for many months.

Construction could start in six to eight weeks, he said, putting the roughly $4 million building on track to open in mid-2017.

“We’re definitely on target for this summer,” Brokaw said. “We’re wrapping up our financing. That seems to be going well,” he said, adding the group is finalizing the list of partners and investors in the project.

Rowell Brokaw will move its business from One East Broadway to 33 East Broadway when construction is complete. Oveissi is expected to move his carpet business into the building as well, Brokaw said.

Two local businesses Brokaw declined to name — one a technology firm and the other a “service” company — also have signed on as part owners and tenants in the building, which Brokaw said should be at least 80 percent occupied when it opens.

“We really see this as a building of owner-­occupiers,” Brokaw said. “It reduces risk as a development, because we get our owner investments and tenants in one fell swoop. It puts us all on the same page, instead of some people being tenants and others owners.”

The building’s exterior will be made of traditional metal and cement. But the group plans to build the floors with cross-laminated timber beams, a growing trend in construction. The beams are made from layers of wood glued together, similar to traditional laminated beams but larger and stronger.

It’s the same material Springfield officials hope to use for a proposed city-owned parking garage in the Glenwood area.

“We’ll be the first (cross-laminated timber) building, I believe, in Eugene-Springfield,” Brokaw said.

The group filed preliminary planning documents with the city in October detailing the plan. Before that, Rowell, Brokaw and Oveissi considered a six-story building on the lot, with 29 apartment units in addition to the office space. But they couldn’t round up money for the project and scaled it back to four stories with no housing, Brokaw said.

The trio has envisioned a building on the lot since they bought it and the One East Broadway building in 2004.

The recession stalled the plan, but the group started seeing momentum swing in its favor a few years ago, as growing tech firms such as IDX, Palo Alto Software, Concentric Sky and Lunar Logic set up downtown.

“When you see the movement in the technology industry down there, I can easily see where we’re going to see a need for more office space downtown,” Brokaw said. “Some new technology companies have been moving into town. They see there’s real livability here. People can afford to buy houses. There’s been a lot of interest.”