Friday, May 20, 2016

Next Generation Downtown

I’m a member of the Emerald Executive Association (EEA), without a doubt the best business networking group in Eugene. We meet each Thursday morning over breakfast, most often enjoying a presentation by one of our members but we occasionally welcome outside speakers who provide news or programs of interest to our group. We had the pleasure this past Thursday to hear from Brittany Quick-Warner, the Director of Business Advocacy for the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, about her organization’s efforts to sustain and strengthen downtown Eugene’s revitalization.

As the Director of Business Advocacy, Brittany leads the Chamber’s efforts to support local businesses by advocating for policies that promote a thriving local economy. The focus of her presentation to EEA was the plans the Chamber of Commerce and its business partners have for the future of downtown. The Next Generation Downtown team includes the following organizations:
  • Eugene Chamber of Commerce
  • Downtown Eugene Inc.
  • Downtown Eugene Economic Development Group
  • Downtown Eugene Merchants
  • Lane Transit District
  • Travel Lane County
  • Eugene Water & Electric Board
  • Technology Association of Oregon
  • American Institute of Architects-Southwestern Oregon Committee on Local Affairs
Brittany told us the Next Gen team surveyed thousands of community members, and reached out to multiple organizations and interested groups to identify a collective set of goals and priorities for the city’s core. The team is committed to increasing high quality jobs, improving downtown as a destination for activity, and supporting the whole of the community with infrastructure and amenities that promote education, arts, and sustainable living. 

The Next Generation Downtown principles and recommended projects outline a plan for using tax increment financing within the Downtown Urban Renewal District to achieve the following goals and significantly impact the success and vibrancy of downtown Eugene: 

ENCOURAGE AN INVITING & SAFE DOWNTOWN – Downtown Eugene is everyone’s neighborhood and everyone should feel safe and welcome there. Strategic infrastructure investments downtown can create a beautiful place and improve the safety of the area.  

PROMOTE ECONOMIC PROSPERITY – Businesses locate themselves in areas with high-quality infrastructure that increases business capacity. Eugene has the opportunity to capitalize on world-class technology infrastructure downtown and should do so as quickly as possible. 

REIMAGINE OUR PUBLIC SPACE – Great cities dream big, and Eugene should be no exception. Quality public space in the heart of our community will invite all Eugeneans to enjoy downtown. The Next Gen team believes the downtown Park Blocks have enormous potential to become an attractive, high-functioning public space in the heart of our community. Citizens also passionately agree the Farmers’ Market is a staple and needs a permanent home in the historic center of our city.   

TRANSFORM OUR VACANT PLACES – It’s hard to believe the notorious and disheartening pits are now only iconic memories of downtown’s past. While the physical pits are filled in, key buildings in our downtown core still sit vacant or underutilized and work against a vibrant retail and commercial atmosphere. Urban Renewal funds can help transform these spaces into important community assets. 

INSPIRE THE WORLD - As our community prepares to welcome thousands of visitors to the 2021 IAAF World Track & Field Championships, we have the opportunity to capitalize on this wonderful event. We can leverage it by undertaking community projects to benefit Eugene far beyond 2021. The Next Gen team believes Eugene must take advantage of this event and embrace its urgency and opportunities to realize a downtown Eugene ready to “Inspire the World.” 

INVEST IN DOWNTOWN – A thriving downtown requires carefully targeted public investment in order to promote economic development, increase the tax base, and maintain the amenities that support the community’s unique image. As Brittany pointed out, downtown Eugene has come a long way, but there is still great opportunity for improvement; we aren’t finished. 

Encouraged by valuable input from over 775 survey respondents, the Next Gen team believes the continuing, targeted use of tax increment financing, with its proven track record of success, is crucial to accomplishing our shared goals for downtown.  

DOWNTOWN IS A HUB FOR BUSINESS & HIGH QUALITY JOBS – Downtown Eugene is home to many businesses and a large portion of our growing technology sector. Eugene may be unique, but it is no different from other cities in one significant respect: Investment is necessary to shape a vibrant downtown that attracts economic development and helps recruit and retain talent and businesses looking to locate in a lively community.

INVESTING IN DOWNTOWN PAYS BACK IN A BIG WAY – We have learned from studies in cities like ours that investing downtown generates higher property tax returns to the public sector than comparable development on the outskirts of town. The incremental costs of downtown development are smaller because infrastructure like roads and water are already largely established. 

DOWNTOWN MAKES A STATEMENT ABOUT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY – The cultural and commercial vibrancy of a community’s downtown defines what a city is all about and reflects its economic vitality. It should be a point of pride and stability. Our downtown can be an inspiration for the world in 2021 and beyond, but investing public funds downtown is essential to making that happen. 

Brittany described how the Next Gen team identified a select few improvements as those most likely to provide the impetus necessary to realize widely shared goals for Eugene’s downtown:  High-speed fiber Internet, improved space for the Lane County Farmers’ Market, redevelopment of the old Lane Community College (LCC) building, and Park Blocks & open space improvements.  To use urban renewal funds for these projects, the City must adopt an ordinance substantially amending the current Downtown Urban Renewal Plan to increase the renewal district’s debt limit and expand the district’s boundaries. The current limit of $46.6 million is mostly expended, with the bulk invested on the Eugene Public Library’s main branch, LCC’s Downtown Campus on 10th Avenue, a variety of downtown public safety enhancements, and paying off the debt on the Broadway Place parking structures. 

Providing high-speed fiber connections downtown creates a competitive landscape for telecommunications, which has been shown to expand service options and lower prices for consumers. Improving telecommunications infrastructure would also support our growing technology sector and other businesses in the downtown.  

The Farmers’ Market has maximized use of the existing space, and the configuration and limitations of the site make it difficult for the market to grow and reach its full potential. The Market has long wanted to establish’ a larger and more prominent, year-round market in downtown. This project focuses on possible improvements to the Park Blocks, or another downtown location, in order to create a more attractive, functional, and permanent venue. Options range from a simple pavilion to a full-service building, and from no land acquisition or site enhancements to land acquisition and significant improvements for the project.  

The LCC Building at 1059 Willamette Street, vacant since the opening of the new LCC Downtown Campus in early 2013, is located across Willamette Street from the Lane Transit District Eugene Station. The old 66,000 square foot facility has three floors with a full basement. LCC is currently working to identify potential redevelopment opportunities with the goal of contributing to and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem anchored by RAIN Eugene, the regional accelerator and innovation network. The structure is large enough to house an “innovation center’” with maker space, wet labs, and other equipment useful to an art and technology incubator. Redeveloping the building as an incubator space would benefit downtown and the broader community by:
  • Improving the physical appearance of the building and the adjacent downtown streetscape.
  • Providing affordable incubator space for early-stage creative industries and start-ups that will create new economic opportunities for community members.
  • Creating a dynamic public space to stimulate additional public and private investment in the surrounding area. LCC is collaborating with the City, RAIN, Lane County, and others to develop a concept that will benefit the community in the long term.
  • The historic Park Blocks, located in the heart of downtown, are a critical component of Eugene’s identity and economic health. They are home to two beloved organizations—the Saturday Market and the Lane County Farmers’ Market—and a key part of the Willamette to Willamette initiative. Improving them and increasing the opportunities for desired activities requires a focused, strategic investment in the amenities, character, and public identity of the Park Blocks and other key public open spaces downtown. 
Brittany’s presentation was highly informative but as a member of AIA-SWO’s Committee on Local Affairs, I already knew of and am supportive of the Next Generation Downtown initiative and extending the Downtown Urban Renewal District. The Eugene City Council is holding a public hearing to discuss the possible renewal this coming Monday, May 23 at 7:00 PM in Harris Hall, 125 East 8th Avenue in downtown. If you have strong feelings about the fate of the urban renewal district, particularly if you endorse its extension, plan on attending the hearing and voicing your support.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The 2016 Making Great Cities Program

Fred Kent
The AIA-SWO Design Excellence Committee invites everyone with an interest in fostering vibrant downtown development to this year’s installment of the Making Great Cities lecture series. The 2016 edition will feature Fred Kent, a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth, and the future of the city. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 25 at The Studio in the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene. 
Fred is the founder and President of Project for Public Spaces (PPS). The organization is the central hub of the global place-making movement, connecting people to ideas, expertise, and partners who share a passion for creating vital places. 
Fred is known throughout the world as a dynamic speaker and prolific ideas man. Traveling over 150,000 miles each year, Fred offers technical assistance to communities and gives major talks across North America and internationally. Each year, he and the PPS staff give presentations or train more than 10,000 people in place-making techniques. 
Since 1975, Fred has worked on hundreds of projects, including Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square in New York City; Discovery Green in Houston, TX; Campus Martius in Detroit, MI; Main Street in Littleton, NH; Granville Island in Vancouver, BC, Canada; and a city-wide place-making campaign in Chicago, IL. 
Fred has spoken to audiences around the world, including the Urban Redevelopment Agency and the National Parks Board in Singapore, representatives from the City of Hong Kong, the Ministry of Environment in Norway, the leading Dutch transportation organization in the Netherlands, Greenspace in Scotland, numerous transportation professionals from US State DOTs, and thousands of community and neighborhood groups across the U.S. 
I first became aware of Fred Kent in 2009, when he engaged in the infamous “smackdown” with Frank Gehry at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Challenged by Fred to explain why “iconic” buildings often fell short when it came to creating pleasant urban places, Gehry “waved his hand in a dismissive gesture, much as Louis XIV might have used to wave away some offending underling” as national correspondent for The Atlantic James Fallows later recounted. The comments that followed on Fallow’s blog stirred a heated debate that continues today between proponents of provocative form-making and those who advocate first and foremost for congenial urban spaces. 
I’ve no doubt Fred’s presentation will be engaging and prompt a lively discussion. I expect him to persuasively emphasize the importance of designing as if people mattered. From all accounts Fred is nothing if not a zealous advocate for public spaces that build stronger communities. I’ll be there to see him and hope you will be there too.
What: The 2016 Making Great Cities Program featuring Fred Kent of the Project for Public Spaces
When: Wednesday, May 25, 2016
  • 5:30pm: Reception
  • 6:00pm: Presentation
Where: The Studio at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene
Cost:  Free to everyone; $10 for professional CEU credit
Sponsorship: The AIA-SWO Design Excellence Committee needs partners to help sponsor Fred’s visit. The committee depend upon the generosity of our community and businesses to support its Design Excellence series of prominent speakers. This program informs and educates the community on topics covering the built and designed environments. Any support you are willing to provide will help the committee cover the costs for the speaker and his travel expenses. In return, you’ll be included in the event’s marketing material, as well as other sponsorship acknowledgment options. Contact Katie Hall for more information.
A big thank you to Dustrud Architecture and the National Association of Realtors for their contributions in support of this event.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Jane Sanders Stadium (all photos by me unless otherwise noted)
The PAC-12 Conference’s reigning softball champion resides at the University of Oregon, and now so too does the team’s sparkling new home. Currently ranked third in the national polls, the women of the Ducks softball team finally enjoy quarters that befit their considerable prowess: Jane Sanders Stadium is yet another in the remarkable string of state-of-the-art athletics facilities for the university. “The Jane” provides the high-flying and hard-hitting Ducks with a home-field advantage that is second to none. 

I enjoyed the privilege of a behind-the-scenes look at the new stadium this past Friday. I came away impressed and happy the team has everything it needs to sustain its recent success for many years to come. 

A new softball venue was long overdue. No one doubted the need to replace Howe Field. The old stadium was lacking in even the most basic of amenities, such as adequate restroom facilities or unobstructed sightlines. The players’ locker room was awkwardly located in the basement of neighboring McArthur Court. Practices during inclement weather took place at the Moshofsky Center, meaning players wasted considerable time in transit to and from Howe Field. Despite its storied history, spectators, coaches, players, and prospective recruits alike regarded the timeworn ballpark as a liability for the program. 

Alumnus Robert Sanders (UO 1951) donated $16 million toward the $17.2 million construction in memory of his late wife, Jane (UO 1950). His gift is a remarkable legacy, without which the new stadium could not have been realized. 

The SRG Partnership designed Jane Sanders Stadium and contractor Howard S. Wright oversaw construction of the fast-tracked project. SRG started design work during the fall of 2014, and Howard S. Wright broke ground on June 4, 2015 following the conclusion of the 2015 softball season. Only nine short months later, Oregon ace Cheridan Hawkins hurled the first official pitch at The Jane on March 24. 

I like that the new stadium is basically located where historic Howe Field once was. Keeping the facility on campus was the right move. The Jane nestles cozily into its setting while at the same time asserting its presence. A softball field is surprisingly compact, so the overall impression inside the stadium is one of intimacy and closeness to the action. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. 

The permanent grandstand includes 1,500 seats, of which about 500 are covered. 1,000 temporary bleacher seats are currently set up beyond the outfield fence, providing a total capacity of 2,500 spectators. The field consists of an artificial turf outfield and a dirt infield. The entire complex includes spectator support amenities, a Team Building (containing lockers, a team lounge, team meeting/video room, training room, equipment room, and coaches’ offices), and a Player Development Area (used for indoor practices, warmup, conditioning, and high-level training). The players and coaches now have everything they need to perform at their highest levels. 

Underside of the roof. The wood panels take the shape of triangles and the geometry of home plate.
View of the field from the concourse along the 3rd base line.

The scoreboard, which places an Oregon "O" logo before a "Jane Sanders Stadium" sign, is a nod to Jane Sanders’ legal first name, Olive.
Our tour guide telling us about the construction and characteristics of the field.

Inside the Ducks' dugout.

The Player Development Area, used for indoor practices and training.
The Equipment Storage room. 

Donor recognition wall in the lobby of the Team Building.

Perhaps the design’s most assertive feature is the V-shaped roof that covers a portion of the seats behind home plate. Destined to become iconic, my first take upon seeing renderings was that its profile resembled that of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber. Like the Hatfield-Dowlin Football Complex before it, the mostly black color scheme extends the current UO penchant for a darkly inscrutable, cool, and audacious aesthetic. 

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber (photo credit: U.S. Air Force)

I spoke with SRG principal and design team leader Jeff Yrazabal a few months ago about how demanding the job’s tight timeline was. Despite its hurried pace, Jeff expressed confidence in his team’s ability to get it done right. His trust in his colleagues was certainly not misplaced, as the finished product is a testament to their hard work and talent. 

The Jane does have its detractors: Despite eagerly looking forward to attending her first game there, my wife doesn’t like the new building’s cloak of black paint. In her opinion it’s “too dark” and consequently fails to fit in with its neighbors. I think The Jane fits in just fine, and will even more so if and when a sensitive architect plans the new academic buildings destined to occupy the site along University Avenue immediately to the west of the stadium’s new entrance plaza. 

*     *     *     *     *    

I owe my opportunity to tour The Jane to Matt Scheibe, principal with Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architecture & Planning, who worked on the project. Matt invited me and Jamin AAsum of Skylab Architecture to join him on the guided tour of Jane Sanders Stadium. The three of us comprise the core design team for the Eugene Civic Park project, so the opportunity to visit and learn about The Jane was one we couldn't pass up. Look for a future blog post about our work on Civic Park, for which we just wrapped up the Conceptual Design phase.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Moving Wall

The Moving Wall, here shown installed at Granada, Mississippi, is coming to Eugene this fall.
My good friend Gary Bartel informed me about plans for bringing an important icon of U.S. history to Lane County this fall. Dubbed The Moving Wall, the display is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC. It is 253 feet long, consisting of 74 six-foot tall aluminum panels. Each panel is painted with a two-part glossy black polyurethane, giving the surface a mirror-like finish similar to that of the original memorial. Gary, himself a Vietnam veteran, wants to publicize its coming to Eugene and help those working to bring it here by calling for volunteer help and donations in support of the exhibit. 
The Moving Wall will be on display in the grassy field at the west end of Skinner Butte Park in Eugene, beginning at noon on Thursday, September 29 through closing on Sunday, October 2. Anyone will be allowed to visit the wall, free of charge, whenever the park is open. 
The Moving Wall last visited Eugene 30 years ago, situated on exactly the same site proposed by the organizers for this year’s installation. 
Like the stone panels of the original memorial in the nation’s capital, the aluminum panels of The Moving Wall bear the names of the 58,306 Americans who lost their lives (or remain missing while in action) during the Vietnam conflict. Rather than engraved as on the original’s stone panels, the names are silk-screened. Rubbings of the names on The Moving Wall may be done using only the materials supplied at the event. 
I’ve visited, and like others been moved by, the poignant original situated at the west end of National Mall in Washington, DC. I also well remember the controversy that accompanied the 1981 unveiling of the design by Maya Lin. I found the design remarkable not only because of its originality but also because of Lin’s youth at the time (21 years old, a year younger than I was). Her competition-winning scheme sparked a heated debate that only its construction and wide acceptance would temper in due course.
The Moving Wall itself is largely the work of Vietnam veteran John Devitt, who vowed to build the traveling version after attending the 1982 dedication of the memorial. He was so impressed by the healing nature of the Wall that he devoted himself to finding a way to help others who might not have the opportunity to visit the capital to share that experience. With the help of fellow veterans, Mr. Devitt built the replica and since 1984 has toured the country with it, drawing tens of millions of visits. The demand to see The Moving Wall is extremely high, so its second trip to Eugene is very special. 
Hosting The Moving Wall is a complicated and costly endeavor. Site preparation, security, visitor assistance, advertising, and a multitude of other requirements mean the Emerald Empire Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) cannot make it happen without the help of others. The chapter asks for support of any kind: volunteer assistance, logistical skill, or financial support. To donate funds or otherwise support its effort to produce The Moving Wall event, contact the chapter’s organizing committee at The Emerald Empire Chapter is a tax-exempt 501(c)(19) veterans organization, so all donations are tax deductible. 
Interested in making a financial contribution? Make your checks payable to “Emerald Empire Chapter, MOAA” and send to P.O. Box 767, Eugene, OR 97440.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Oregon Consensus Assessment – South Willamette Special Area Zone

The City of Eugene’s plan to roll out its South Willamette Special Area Zone has met with vociferous opposition on several fronts. In response, the City commissioned Oregon Consensus—the State of Oregon’s program for public policy conflict resolution and collaborative governance—to conduct an assessment of the process the project has followed to date to see if there is an opportunity for a more cooperative path forward. Oregon Consensus completed its assessment last month and its report is now available online.
AIA-Southwestern Oregon’s Committee on Local Affairs (CoLA), of which I’m a member, hopes to be a part of whatever collaborative process Oregon Consensus designs and facilitates to foster balanced participation and dialogue about the City’s controversial SW-SAZ proposal. The following is CoLA’s letter to the mayor, city council, and city manager in which we express our willingness to become involved:
April 25, 2016
Eugene Mayor, City Council and City Manager
℅ City Manager’s Office
125 East 8th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401 
Re: Oregon Consensus Assessment Report – South Willamette Special Area Zone 
Dear Mayor, City Councilors and City Manager: 
The Committee on Local Affairs (CoLA) of the American Institute of Architects-Southwestern Oregon Chapter concurs with the Oregon Consensus recommendations for improving the public process associated with the development of the proposed South Willamette Special Area Zone. CoLA’s support for the recommendations parallels that expressed by others who likewise want Eugene to manage its inevitable growth in as sustainable a manner as possible while ensuring its continued livability.
The Oregon Consensus assessment report recommends initially developing a process that includes key community members and representatives from the City planning department to pursue three goals. These goals are to:
  1. Build trust between the City and community members; 
  2. Improve communication among and between the City and the various community interests; and, 
  3. Develop better mutual understanding of the issues involved and the facts and data that might support decision-making.
CoLA understands shifting the present dynamic of adversarial conflict toward a process of joint inquiry, exploration, and learning will be challenging. Regardless, we firmly believe constructive communication among a diverse and inclusive group of community members is necessary. At a minimum, the groups involved must include affected homeowners and renters; business owners; those working for affordable housing and housing choice, transportation choices, climate change, and environmental protection; those who represent home builders and developers; the City of Eugene; and design professionals, including architects, landscape architects, and urban designers. We’re certain an effective, community-based planning process must involve all of these interests. 
It is noteworthy some people have expressed their distrust for the “planning elite,” believing those with specialized training on matters related to urban planning or design are only inclined toward imposing abstract, top-down planning solutions. They believe the City of Eugene planners in particular have been insensitive to the fine-grained complexity of very real and personal circumstances. We understand they may regard architects as members of this same “planning elite” but we also believe this is a reason why it is important architects be numbered among those who you may call upon to engage in any process toward identifying the path forward. Failing to include design professionals in such a process may perpetuate biases and distrust rather than break them down. 
The City intends the South Willamette Special Area Zone to be a pilot project for how to plan the future of Eugene. This is why a successful process and outcome are essential. CoLA believes this opportunity to develop constructive methods of engagement and involvement will not only help determine a path forward for South Willamette, but also provide a roadmap for all successful planning processes in the future. Ultimately, how the SW-SAZ proposal evolves hinges upon whether sufficient trust can exist to allow it to move forward. If it cannot, the prospects for the City’s other planning efforts may be bleak, as would its capacity to meet Envision Eugene goals associated with sustainability and livability. CoLA supports these goals because they are a thoughtful framework for Eugene's future. In particular, we believe that planning for population growth is essential to a healthy community.

In summation, we unequivocally endorse the Oregon Consensus recommendation to create a process to “shift the dynamic from an adversarial conflict … to a process of joint inquiry, exploration, and learning,” We hope you will act upon this recommendation and ask us to join other community groups in this important effort. If we are involved, we will pledge to help improve communication and work with everyone toward a mutual understanding and appreciation for the myriad issues and concerns associated with the SW-SAZ proposal. We’re confident Eugene can build a robust process and the trust necessary to confront our community’s future planning challenges. 

Austin Bailey, Scott Clarke, Randy Nishimura, and Travis Sheridan - Members, American Institute of Architects-Southwestern Oregon Chapter, Committee on Local Affairs 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Livability Drinks

Photo by Jsayre64 licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.

Connected Livability Professionals (CLP) is a new initiative in the Eugene-Springfield area, created to facilitate connections between green building and planning professionals and aspiring professionals with speakers, events, jobs, and each other. The group is hosting an inaugural social event on Thursday, April 21 at 5:00 PM at the Barn Light's new location on 8th Ave, between the University of Oregon campus and the river. 
The event promises to be a relaxing and enjoyable opportunity to network and connect with colleagues in the livability field. It will be the first of what CLP hopes will be regular get-togethers for like-minded individuals. There will be an opportunity for attendees to make “spotlight” announcements (short, 30-second pitches) if they have other events or opportunities to promote.  
If you want to learn more about CLP, or offer your own ideas about how it can best serve your needs, sign up for the group’s listserv at
What: Livability Drinks 
When: Thursday, April 21, 2016  - 5:00 PM 
Where: The Barn Light East - 545 E 8th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401 
RSVP if you can, or just show up!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The CSI-Willamette Valley Chapter Wants You!

The following is a letter written by Marina Wrensch, CSI, ASLA, our 2015-2016 Construction Specifications Institute - Willamette Valley Chapter president. The letter is her plea to all CSI-WVC members to step up to the plate and become a chapter board member, assume the role of an industry leader, and make a difference in the coming 2016-2017 chapter year. I encourage you to seriously consider her invitation. I agree with everything Marina says: Volunteering for CSI is rewarding, fun, and a great way to advance your career. Read on:

Dear members of the Willamette Valley Chapter of CSI:

I am writing to you today with a request that should be considered by all of us. The chapter year comes to an end on June 30. I enjoyed very much being your 2015-2016 president and I want to thank my fellow board members Jim Chaney (president-elect), Jim Christian (treasurer), and Alley Mayer (secretary) for being active and there when we needed them. The time to elect a new board is nearly here. Unfortunately, with the exception of me as the incoming past-president, we will need to fill all of the other chapter board positions (president-elect, treasurer, secretary, and two directors at-large).

I am calling on all of you!!! We need your participation!!!

There is no chapter without leadership. The economy is picking up and everybody is busy. We noticed that during our C3 conference. Tell me about being busy: I’m the full-time working mom of a one year-old. Like you, I know busy too, but this chapter is very important to me. I have made many professional connections during my early years here and I gained so much confidence about my capabilities. Please don’t see volunteering in our/your chapter as a chore. See it as an opportunity. That is what I did, and I don’t regret it.

If you are wondering if you are fit to fill any of the board positions, refer to Chapter IV of theCSI-Willamette Valley Chapter Guide, which explains every position’s role. The short answer is YES YOU ARE! Don’t let the descriptions convince you it will take a lot of time; it doesn’t have to. Talk to a member who has been on the board, and find out what it really is all about.

Please consider participating—like I said we need your help—even if you’ve already served once or twice before on the board. Our chapter depends on your expertise. And if a board position is a bit too intimidating at this point, consider participating on a chapter committee. We need help there as well. Please contact me at or 541-485-7385, with any questions or comments. We may be giving you a call in the meantime to chat personally with you.

Thank you everyone!!!

Marina Wrensch, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C, CSI
Landscape Architect, CSI Chapter President