Monday, June 1, 2009

President’s Message – June 2009

Summer is quickly approaching. Warm, sunny weather has returned to the Willamette Valley. Flowers are in bloom. Backyard barbeques are a weekend staple again. People are out and about, taking care of chores, enjoying the outdoors, and chatting with neighbors. Summer is the time when our sense of community is most strongly felt.

The AIA-SWO is a community, one whose vitality and influence is rising as a result of the concerted efforts of our chapter board officers and dedicated volunteers. The board decided last December to move forward on a number of initiatives that would emphasize providing tangible benefits to our membership. Our plan was to furnish these benefits as effectively and efficiently as possible. Since the beginning of the year, we have unequivocally increased member value, optimized organizational performance, and served as the credible voice on matters of the built environment. The following are just a few examples of our chapter’s 2009 activities and initiatives to date:

Increasing Member Value
  • Formation of an Emerging Professionals Group

  • Production of the Climate Change and Architectural Responses educational seminar

  • Programming of monthly chapter meeting topics with a greater emphasis upon HSW/SD continuing education content

  • Offering of CE credits for participation in AIA-SWO design charrettes

  • Expansion of ties with the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts, including renewal of the Reverse Crit program

  • Organization of the first juried Design Awards program since 2005 (to be co-produced with AIA-Southern Oregon; entries due/judging to occur in October)

  • Establishment of a new chapter committee, the Congress of Residential Architecture, Oregon Chapter (CORA)

Optimizing Organizational Performance

Serving as the Credible Voice

  • Resurrection of the Past Presidents Committee, which convenes monthly to discuss local affairs of importance to our community’s livability and future development

  • Production of four separate design charrettes with the intent of demonstrating AIA-SWO leadership on environmental design issues:
    1) The Whilamut Passage/I-5 Bridge charrette (completed)
    2) The Visions for Dixon Creek charrette (planned for later this month)
    3) The EWEB Riverfront Master Plan Public charrette (taking place this summer)
    4) The Walnut Station (Franklin Boulevard) charrette (planned for November)

  • Evaluation of proposed changes to height regulations for R-3 and R-4 zoned properties in the South University Neighborhood

  • Contribution of articles to the Register-Guard’s opinion page

  • Pursuit of further opportunities with the Register-Guard, including the possibility of a regular column devoted to architecture

All of the above builds upon the well-established programs our chapter offers, including the popular series of tours for interns of projects under construction, the Peoples’ Choice Awards, the Register-Guard insert, the Craftsmanship Awards, our educational scholarship program, and advocacy on behalf of the AIA-SWO membership for legislation that is consistent with the goals of the profession. In addition, our chapter is making great progress toward hosting the 2010 Northwest & Pacific Region Conference – a huge undertaking.

Our June 17, 2009 chapter meeting presents the AIA-SWO community with the opportunity to both look back upon our accomplishments of the first half of 2009 and look forward to what lies ahead for the remainder of the year. The intent of the meeting is thus twofold: 1) To make sure that we acknowledge the participation, energy, and enthusiasm of those individuals who have contributed to the success of chapter activities; and 2) to build upon this success by engaging everyone in a discussion about how we can further increase the value of membership in AIA-SWO.

Speaking of increased value, we are offering the June meeting free of charge to the first seventy members and associate members who reserve a seat. Think of it as a dividend from your investment in the AIA-SWO community, an investment that will continue to grow with your help. Join us at our June meeting as we honor our community volunteers and stand on their shoulders to look forward to the remainder of 2009 and beyond.

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June Program Sponsor
Our June program sponsor is Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers. Familiar to many AIA-SWO members, the venerable Eugene firm has provided innovative and cost-effective engineering solutions for clients since 1954.

Balzhiser & Hubbard Engineers’ staff of more than 50 employees boasts a broad range of expertise, enabling the firm to take on complex projects with multiple engineering and design challenges. With its state-of-the-art automated design systems and software, BHE is able to devote the necessary resources to complete any assignment quickly and efficiently.

Randy Nishimura, AIA
2009 President, AIA-Southwestern Oregon

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