1. < Back to Articles

    DJC Oregon: DJC Announces its Newsmakers for 2017

    March 23, 2017


    by: DJC Staff

    2017 Newsmakers

    Connie Ashbrook, executive director and co-founder of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. – When Connie Ashbrook and three other tradeswomen started the Oregon Tradeswomen Network – an entity that became Oregon Tradeswomen Inc. – the goal was to support the few women already in the trades. When Ashbrook stepped into the executive director role in 1996, she refocused the organization’s efforts on helping more women find their way into careers in the trades. While the organization’s efforts will never end, they have worked. In Oregon, women represent 20 percent of the construction industry – more than double the national statistic. While Ashbrook may be stepping down, she will still assist special projects … and the organization will continue its mission.

    Andre Barbosa, civil engineering professor at Oregon State University – Andre Barbosa is an associate professor of structural engineering at the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering. His research team has been hard at work studying the seismic resilience of Oregon’s newest building material: cross-laminated timber. The team’s research, currently focused on walls and floors, will eventually lead to full structure testing, with the aim of creating standards and specifications for its use. In a recent DJC article, Barbosa remarked that from a strength-to-weight ratio, a cross-laminated timber pane is superior to reinforced steel.

    Bora Architects – Bora is making its mark in the Pearl District with the completed 353,400-square-foot Cosmopolitan Building and the 350,000-square-foot Vista Pearl condominiums now under construction. Yet one of the firm’s most striking projects might be the renovation and expansion of the former YMCA building in Southwest Portland for Under Armour.

    Michael Burch, community relations & outreach representative for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters – Michael Burch is the community relations and outreach representative for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and a commissioner of the city of Portland’s often contentious Equitable Contracting & Purchasing Commission, a group charged with increasing participation by women and minorities in city projects. Over his career, Burch has become an advocate for Community Benefits Agreements, a tactic intended to improve diversity by bringing community groups and training providers into the construction planning process for public projects. While opponents believe they unfairly favor unions, Burch understands the value of the sorts of organizations that would be brought in. Burch currently sits on the boards for Portland Youth Builders, All Hands Raised and Constructing Hope (a former Newsmaker) – all groups dedicated to providing economic opportunity to some of our most vulnerable and underrepresented community members.

    Chloe Eudaly, Portland city commissioner – While Chloe Eudaly is not the typical politician seen on city councils across the country, the former bookstore owner and single mother won her spot by running on a platform renter protections that resonated with voters. Eudaly won’t get the traditional light load of rookie commissioners, though – Mayor Ted Wheeler has put her in charge of the Bureau of Development Services, which is responsible for issuing building permits during an unprecedented building boom. While developers call for less red tape, Eudaly is staying true to her campaign, having already launched an effort to protect renters by requiring landlords to pay moving fees resulting from no-cause evictions.

    Downtown Development Group – We expected 2016 to be a good year for development, but Downtown Development Group raised the bar higher in February when it announced its Ankeny Blocks proposal that would transform 11 Portland surface parking lots in a span of 30 blocks into as much as 4 million square feet of mixed-use space. The ambitious plan would include five towers at 46 feet tall each as well as smaller buildings. In addition to the big announcement, Greg Goodman played an integral part in helping modify the city of Portland’s inclusionary zoning policies.

    Fortis Construction – Topping the DJC’s annual General Contractors A-List for the first time ever – with nearly $469 million in gross receipts in 2015 – Fortis is no doubt on a roll. But it didn’t stop there. In 2016 Fortis took on such projects as the New Relic expansion in the U.S. Bancorp Tower, the Oregonian building renovation, the Oregon Zoo Educational Center, a Facebook data center in New Mexico and several higher education buildings around the state. Oh, and did we mention the contractor dug up mammoth bones in Corvallis?

    GBD Architects – GBD has its hands in some major projects around town right now, including the Oregon Square superblock project that received the Portland Design Commission’s approval in October. Other projects include the Press Blocks development that will add 180,000 square feet of office and retail space, a pair of towers and two seven-story mixed use buildings on the Prometheus property in the South Waterfront, the 19-story mixed-use Broadway Tower and the master plan for the 14.5-acre Steel Hammer property in Cathedral Park. GBD’s completed Hassalo on Eighth project took home many awards in 2016, and the firm recently won three Design Excellence Awards from the International Interior Design Association’s Oregon chapter.

    Katie Hughes, Girls Build – Katie Hughes always knew she wanted to help people. But as she entered the job market, armed with a degree in social work from the University of Portland, she quickly realized that job prospects were scarce, and when she did find them, she didn’t have the necessary experience. In the meantime, Hughes volunteered building houses for Habitat for Humanity and caught the carpentry bug. Fusing together both of her passions she found a career that involved teaching at ACE Academy and working at Oregon Tradeswomen. When ACE shuttered, and Oregon Tradeswomen dropped its Building Girls program, Hughes decided to fill the gap and started Girls Build, a summer camp that introduces young women to the world of construction.

    Noel Johnson, Cairn Pacific – Noel Johnson stood on the Newsmakers stage just one year ago, representing Killian Pacific for its work on such projects as the Goat Blocks and Clay Creative. Eyebrows were raised in September when Johnson left the firm, but dots started to connect when it was announced a few months later that he was becoming a partner at Cairn Pacific – another 2016 Newsmaker – reuniting him with Rob Hinnen and Tom DiChiara; all three worked at Trammell Crow Residential in the mid-2000s. Cairn Pacific has its own string of successful projects recently completed and in the works, and will rely on Johnson’s expertise as the market continues to warrant new development.

    Lever Architecture – Whether because of height or aesthetic, the Portland landscape has seen some iconic additions in the past year. But one project getting ready to start will truly be one of a kind. Lever Architecture has cleared all hurdles in front of the 12-story mixed-use Framework project in Northwest Portland – on track to become the nation’s first modern wood-framed high-rise. After receiving design approval in September, a two-hour fire test was required to make sure that a structure that big and made with cross-laminated timber and glue-laminated timber could meet requirements in building codes. The project passed, and is moving forward.  Lever Architecture also made headlines with its completion of Albina Yards – the first structure in the U.S. built with domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber.

    Oregon LOCUS – Portland is an evolving city, there is no doubt about that. Seeing this, a group of local developers and real estate professionals have banded together  to advocate for a range of housing, land use and real estate policies, at both the state and local level, that promote and encourage the development of sustainable, equitable and walkable urban places. The organization hasn’t taken the concept lightly. Within days of forming, the group played a role in developing the modified version of the City of Portland’s inclusionary housing program that was ultimately adopted.

    Mainland NW – The Northwest branch of a Nashville, Tennessee-based developer, Mainland Northwest has become a major player in the transition of the Cathedral Park neighborhood. The company is in the early process of transforming a 14.5-acre Willamette riverfront site – once a haven for industrial businesses – into a large mixed-use development. In the meantime, the firm is working on two other Cathedral Park projects: an 80,000-square-foot residential property on North Crawford Street and an 80-unit apartment building on North Richmond Avenue.

    Jonathan Malsin, Beam Development – Jonathan Malsin never wanted to be a developer like his father, Brad Malsin. In fact, he was admitted to the Oregon State Bar and had grand plans to be a lawyer – until he got involved in the iconic Olympic Mills project his father was working on. That former industrial building was converted into creative office space, and Jonathan Malsin caught the developer bug. He has since become increasingly involved in the family business. And while he still has a passion for Southeast Portland industrial building retrofits that Beam Development is known for, he has his own ambitions. The firm partnered with Urban Development + Partners this year for a handful of projects. And while the projects are still within the inner Southeast, the firms are working together on something less familiar to Beam: construction from the ground up.

    John Maternoski, founder of PortlandDesign.org – John Maternoski is a designer who has a passion for involvement in industry organizations and nonprofits. Noting a lack of a centric calendar for design-related events around Portland, Maternoski decided to take on the challenge of creating one. Portland Design Events (PortlandDesign.org) has become not only a one-stop-shop for people seeking listings of regular industry get-togethers and educational seminars, but also a hub of other features that evoke inspiration and bring the community together around creativity and design.

    Jordan Menashe, Menashe Properties – Menashe Properties’ sale of its property at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Portland to Greystar Development, a move that will eventually lead to construction of a 30-story tower there, is no doubt newsworthy. But the story took a back seat to the two firms’ announcement in January 2016 that they’d open the existing building as a temporary homeless shelter for six months. After a colder-than-usual winter, the two firms announced in December that they would reopen it for four more months. Menashe Properties also made some unprecedented business moves, including the firm’s first ground-up development, a six-story office building under construction in the West End. As Barry Menashe’s son Jordan moves into a more prominent role with the company, he has his sights set on expansion. The real estate mainstay in 2016, for the first time, completed major purchases outside of Portland – one in Kent, Washington, and one in Denver.

    John Mohlis, Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council – It’s fairly safe to say that the construction industry changed a lot over the six years that John Mohlis was charged with leading the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council. And while the former bricklayer apprentice doesn’t control the swings of the economy, he has drawn praise from his peers for his steady, peacemaking style. In a 2016 interview with the DJC, Portland Development Commission director John Jackley called Mohlis a “champion for our most aggressive social equity requirements in the country … He was a relentless champion of working families who has that rare combination of progressive vision and on-the-ground results.” Mohlis has since taken an of-counsel position with Gallatin Public Affairs.

    Portland Development Commission – Hampered by dwindling resources, the Portland Development Commission took a step back from a predominantly real estate-focused agenda over the past several years and instead focused on workforce development. That didn’t stop the agency from pulling the trigger in 2016 on a purchase of the 13.4-acre U.S. Postal Service site in Northwest Portland for $88 million. The land has long been considered the key connection between the Pearl District and Old Town Chinatown, and is expected to play a significant role in providing the urban core with enough housing, retail space and office space. But the move doesn’t signify a return for the PDC to urban renewal days. A few months later, after Patrick Quinton stepped down as executive director, the agency promoted deputy director Kimberly Branam into the role. In addition to several years with the PDC, Branam has held several major economic development roles around the city.

    Raimore Construction – When you hear that a firm has been awarded a $6.7 million project, it’s easy to think it hit the jackpot. But that was not the case when Raimore Construction, a midsize heavy-civil contractor, beat out three larger firms – including one 40 times its size – to win TriMet’s largest contract ever awarded to a minority-owned firm. Luck had nothing to do with the result; rather, the contract was a culmination of 15 years of hard work, growth and diversification by Raimore partners Jeff Moreland and Andre Raiford. While Raimore has been a mainstay on TriMet projects, the firm’s role has not always been the same. The partners started out trucking for a MAX project in the early 2000s, and over the years have performed flagging, masonry and brickwork – most recently serving as co-construction manager-general contractor performing prep work for the installation of TriMet’s Hop Fastpass electronic fare system.

    Sellwood Bridge project team – The old Sellwood Bridge scored a two out of a possible 100 in a national bridge sufficiency study. Virtually every driver who had crossed the bridge in the past 20 years knew it needed to be replaced. But Multnomah County knew that if a new Sellwood Bridge were to be built, the project needed to be done right. A joint venture between Stayton-based Slayden Construction and Arizona-based contractor Sundt was hired to build the $324 million project, the largest construction manager/general contractor project in the county’s history. Ted Aadland, one of the state’s leading bridge building professionals, was brought on to lead the project. Several site issues came up during the project, but Portland now has a seismically safe bridge. Then last month the effort was named the Project of the Year and the People’s Choice Project of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies’ Oregon chapter during its annual awards competition.

    Snohetta – This world-renowned, award-winning, Oslo, Norway-based integrated design firm practices architecture, landscape, interiors, furniture, graphic and brand design. The firm has worked on projects around the world and now it’s involved in three of the Portland area’s important and potentially iconic projects. Currently, Snohetta is working on a preferred design for Oregon City’s Willamette Falls Riverwalk project intended to reopen public access to the former Blue Heron Paper Mill site. The firm has also been selected to lead the master planning of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s 16-acre waterfront site on the banks of the Willamette River. Lastly, the firm has also been engaged in discussions with the leaders of the long-proposed James Beard Public Market. After a plan to establish the market at the Morrison Bridge’s west end was abandoned, a site near OMSI is being discussed as an alternative.

    The women leading the Portland Building renovation project: Kelly Ball, city of Portland; Kristin Wells, city of Portland; Jamie Waltz, city of Portland; Carla Weinheimer, DLR Group; Faye Burch, F.M. Burch & Associates; Lois Cohen and Amy Higgs, Lois Cohen and Associates; Rhonnda Edmiston, Howard S. Wright – Whether you love it or hate the Portland Building, there is no doubt that it’s iconic. And after several small, unsuccessful attempts to fix some of the building’s issues, there’s going to be a lot of attention on the $195 million, four-year overhaul. The extra attention aside, lead outreach specialist Lois Cohen couldn’t help but notice that something felt different when sitting in on an early planning meeting for the project. Then it hit her – in nearly every facet of the sprawling project there is a woman in a leadership position. And while Oregon has better representation of women in trades than most other states, there’s still a great imbalance in leadership roles. Perhaps the remodel of this iconic structure can also become a reference point in the quest for more gender diversity in the building industries.

    Urban Asset Advisors – Since splitting off from HFO Investment Real Estate just under four years ago, O’Brien has been hard at work leading Urban Asset Advisors. Noticing the tightening of the apartment vacancy market in Portland through work at HFO, O’Brien formed the firm to develop new projects. Urban Asset Advisors is now building the Couch 9 and Multnomah Village apartments, getting set to start construction of Slabtown Flats and moving forward with the Grand Belmont after receiving the Historic Landmarks Commission’s approval. In addition, the firm is developing a pair of Hacker-designed multifamily projects in Southeast Portland: Division 33, a 30-unit project on Southeast Division Street, and the Ladd’s Addition Flats, a 34-unit project on Southeast 11th Avenue. If that isn’t enough, the firm sold its Lower Burnside Lofts to Berkshire Group in February 2016.

    Yorke & Curtis – Approaching its 30th anniversary, Yorke & Curtis has been producing quality construction in the area for a long time. But something just felt different in 2016 as the firm took on what CEO and President Erik Timmons called “catalyst projects.” That phrase makes sense in the context of Slate and 811 Stark. The eye-catching Yorke & Curtis projects represent the new aesthetic of close-in northeast and southeast Portland.

    ZGF Architects – Long recognized as a leader in architecture around the Pacific Northwest and several cities around the country, Portland-based ZGF in 2016 cemented itself as the national leader when it nabbed the top spot of a list published in Architect – the journal of the American Institute of Architects. ZGF also took home Azure Magazine’s international AZ Award for Environmental Leadership for its design of Stanford University’s Central Energy Facility in Palo Alto, California. Also, that 30-story tower proposed by Greystar Development at Southwest Fourth Avenue and Washington Street is being designed by ZGF.

    Zidell Yards/ZRZ Realty Company – Not often does an entire city’s ears perk in interest when a family business decides to shutter. But that’s exactly what happened when the Zidells announced in 2016 that they were closing the Zidell Marine Corp. shipbuilding business. With the announcement also came the unveiling of the family’s master plan to redevelop 33 acres of property along the west side of the Willamette River between South Waterfront and downtown Portland. The ambitious plan calls for 5 million square feet of mixed-use space, several parks and even a dock along the river to promote water recreation. While the full build-out is expected to require 15-20 years, the family hopes to begin initial construction in late 2017.

    Link to Story