2016 Diversity Summit

The 2016 ALSA Diversity Summit recently took place in Washington, D.C. It was a two day event between July 9th-10th, featuring several brainstorming sessions covering ways to bring forth a more diverse landscape architecture profession. 

IMG_1377An executive committee member, Paula Baretto, Student Liason was invited to attend this timely and important event.


While landscape architecture remains a small profession employing just 21,600, according to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the demographics within the profession do not match the racial and ethnic demographics of the country. This discrepancy will only become increasingly glaring as the minority population across the U.S. continues to grow.

In 2043, the U.S. is projected to become a majority-minority nation for the first time.  Minorities, now 73 percent of the U.S. population, are projected to make up to 57 percent of the population in 2060. The total minority population will more than double, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million over the period. To remain relevant and able to serve the country’s increasingly diverse communities, landscape architecture needs to become a more ethnically and culturally diverse profession.

Participants from the 2015 summit merged with 2016 participants to discuss and continue the work of years past. Major topics covered included K-12 outreach, short and long-term goals focused on program branding and recruitment, and lastly, ways to navigate university and firm cultures as a minority.

On the final day, areas of consensus were distilled into action items, where three strategies were determined and specific ways to implement them were discussed. The end result will be a compiled handbook offered to all ASLA state chapters to use in the effort of diversifying the profession.

Next year will mark the fifth year of the ASLA Diversity Summit, where all participants have been invited to return to Washington D.C. We will be discussing what we have done, what has worked and what has not, and most importantly, where we will be going as we continue in this effort.


University of Oregon student team wins Cleantech Award

All team photo

Students’ prototype wins additional startup funding 
A team of UO landscape architecture students has been working on an agricultural water filtration
prototype since spring 2015.

A team of UO landscape architecture students has won additional startup funding for a water filtration prototype, this time $2,500 in the statewide Portland State University Cleantech Challenge and a chance at winning another $10,000 in September.

Earlier, the team won $10,000 in a global competition and the chance to compete for a $100,000 prize to be awarded in October. In a further show of team unity and largesse, one team member plans to use a separate, individual $15,000 scholarship stipend to further her team’s research.

Their project, “Penthouse Protozoa: The Living Filtration System,” is designed to trap excess fertilizer in agricultural fields where it’s gradually absorbed by plants rather than leaving fields as polluted runoff.  The team includes Wade Hanson, Casey Howard, Matt Jorgensen, Alison Lewis, and Krisztian Megyeri.

The students began their project in a spring 2015 class taught by UO Instructors Anne Godfrey and Emma Froh.

The PSU Cleantech Challenge, hosted by Portland State University, selected ten student teams from universities around Oregon to each receive $2,500 to develop prototypes of environmentally friendly inventions and compete for a grand prize of $10,000 to help bring their innovations to market.

Each finalist team in the Cleantech Challenge has also been matched with a business development mentor and provided workspace to refine their ideas and product for the final competition, at Oregon BEST FEST 2016  at Portland’s World Trade Center in September.
This is the first year the PSU Cleantech Challenge opened to schools statewide.

Howard, the sole undergraduate on the team, was awarded the 2016 National Olmsted Scholar Award and is using its $15,000 stipend to further her team’s research.

Last fall, the UO team won the $10,000 first-place prize and advancement to the final round of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, which asked participants to tackle any aspect of the food system that could be improved by looking to nature for design guidance. The final competition takes place in October in San Rafael, California, where teams will compete for the $100,000 Ray of Hope prize.

Story by Marti Gerdes

Victor Stanley Site Visit

Members of the Oregon Chapter of ASLA were recently invited by Victor Stanley, the site furnishings manufacturer, to visit Maryland and Washington D.C. for a long weekend of sightseeing, making new connections, and touring their two factories. Five Oregon Chapter members were joined by practitioners from Alaska and Seattle for this members only opportunity. Victor Stanley (as well as other companies) occasionally offer such trips where expenses are paid giving practitioners the opportunity to better know the company and the product. Sound boring? Not in the least. Smart, interesting people who view their surroundings through lenses both artful and technically astute surrounded and inspired us.


Accompanied by one of the founders of Victor Stanley (with an acute interest in history), most of our time was spent touring Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Maryland. We visited Ford’s Theater, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Naval Academy. While seeing these beautiful, but somber reminders of tremendous loss in our nation’s history, tour members admired the remarkable designers who imagined these spaces where people could gather with others and contemplate our past.


ASLA tour members enjoyed getting to visit (or revisit) a part of the country so rich in historical events and most of all, an opportunity to connect to other people in a new way. Well done, Victor Stanley. Thanks for bringing the Oregon Chapter of the ASLA along on the adventure.


2016 OLCA/ASLA Golf Tournament

The 2016 OLCA/ASLA golf tournament was held on June 3 at the Langdon Farms Golf Club. The revamped tournament was well attended this year and took advantage of an early-morning tee time and fantastic summer weather. Over 120 contractors, architects and vendors donned their golf gear and participated in an 18-hole best ball scramble. A unique phone based scoring application provided real time scores for the tournament helping to heighten the competition.


The tournament was followed by an awards ceremony and incredible lunch consisting of fried chicken and barbecue pork. Prizes were awarded to the top three finishing teams as well as closest to the pin and long drive participants. Awards were made to both men and women in each group.  Winners walked away with gift certificates for both meals and gear from Langdon Farms as well as bottles of wine and clothing from several generous sponsors.

Hole in One prizes (although none were given) included trips to resort destinations across the country and a new 2017 GMC truck.

IMG_5866The ASLA highlight of the tournament was the lunch time raffle that produced the lone winning landscape architect.  Tommy Solomon from 2 Ink Studio walked away with a brand new set of Nike irons. When asked if he was a golfer Solomon replied “I am now”!


Emerging Professionals

Oregon ASLA recognizes that emerging professionals are the future of the profession and future leaders within ASLA.  Our Emerging Professionals Committee leads our efforts to bring programming to attract and involve our newest members and engage the interest of long-time professionals.

Frequent, engaging events encourage participants to foster relationships within the community of design-related fields, and the ASLA organization as a whole.  These positive experiences will help increase involvement in other aspects of ASLA, where emerging professionals can volunteer their time and energy, and remain engaged in ASLA throughout their careers. Get involved!


Pop-up Events:

Events of this type could have educational value, provide networking/social opportunities, and/or provide community service.  Kinds of events might include a design charrette for a local non-profit, coordination with the John Yeon Center for a visit to The Shire, tours of current projects of note, or sketching the historic Halprin Sequence.

Networking + Social Events + Educational Opportunities:

Emerging professionals builds new friendships and makes professional contacts by engaging in a collaborative activity such as our interdisciplinary Trivia Group Event in partnership with emerging professionals groups from the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) and (WTS Portland, a professional organization focused on advancing women in transportation.

The new urban sketching groups,  SketchPDX, is a monthly meeting of Emerging Professionals and drawing enthusiasts created to have fun and learn from each other in a collaborative environment. 

SketchPDX: Eugene Road trip, our most recent event, attracted a mix of emerging professionals, landscape architects, students (both landscape architecture and architecture), and one (fine) Fellow (ASLA).  Together we enjoyed an inspiring afternoon of sketching, watercoloring and learning new drawing techniques.  Kenneth Helphand, FASLA, showed us a new way of interpreting place by applying a concept based on the definition of autochthonous – look it up, you’ll get it.


Here’s how you can participate:

You don’t have to be an emerging professional of participate in any of our EP events.  They are open to all our members and to those thinking about joining ASLA.  Special guests with special skills will be invited to join us off and on throughout the year to share, teach and pass on new ways of drawing.  Watch for future sketchPDX events on the Oregon ASLA website, Newswire and your email. 

Have an idea for an event or a skill to share?  Contact EP Chair Patty Hines at ep@aslaoregon.org.


2016 ASLA Design Symposium Recap

The annual ASLA Oregon Symposium was once again a huge success!

The Symposium kicked off bright and early Saturday morning. Landscape architects, designers and allied professionals filed into University of Oregon’s White Stag Block abuzz with discussion about the day ahead.

Each speaker presented a wonderfully different perspective on the topic of fostering equity and diversity in design, our communities, our profession. How do we bridge practice to help create equitable and resilient communities? Attendees explored sustainability as an anti-poverty strategy, intercultural modes for inclusive urban spaces, cultural changes and rapid urban growth occurring in cities of Mexico. We learned more about how diversity and environmental justice in design can be achieved with strong community collaboration.

DS - talk2 copy

Our gracious sponsors had tables set up in the middle of our gathering space, making it easy for attendees to get the latest product news and information, as well as food and drink. We hear year after year from our members how much they enjoy reconnecting with their local plant nurseries, site furnishing manufacturers, and more!

An engaging keynote address was given by Diane Jones Allen, Design Jones LLC,  that explored bridging community practice and academy to create equitable and resilient environments. The sessions to follow were lively, educational and cross disciplinary in nature – exactly the balance the Symposium planning committee strives for every year. We wrapped up the day with a compelling panel moderated by Randy Gragg, Executive Director John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape, University of Oregon.


Thank you attendees, sponsors and volunteers for your participation again this year! A special thanks to the John Yeon Center and Randy Gragg for hosting the event. Everyone’s energy and enthusiasm helped make this annual event a success yet again. See you next year!

DS -Laurie

World Landscape Architecture Month 2016

World Landscape Architecture Month is going on now. 

Every year during the month of April, countries across the globe focus on ways to highlight and promote our profession.  Sometimes this promotion takes the place as community events or lectures, but those events take a great deal of time to plan (something that is lacking in many lives).  For the second year, ASLA has harnessed the power of social media by setting up the hashtag #WLAM2016 and providing cards that read, “This is Landscape Architecture”.  People can take a picture that portrays landscape architecture (integrating the card somewhere in the image) then post the photo to social media avenues using #WLAM2016.

For inspiration, take a moment to look on the WLAM 2016 tagboard; see posts from Scotland, the Netherlands, Seattle, Chicago and more.  All these images express what people have found important in their profession.  This social media campaign gives people a chance to change how people view landscape architecture, showing a breadth of projects,  all designed by a landscape architect.

If you were wondering if it is worth the effort, consider this.  As of April 12, ASLA has counted 2,150 posts with #WLAM2016, all images of landscape architecture that reached 1,319,385 people.  Hard numbers that show this campaign is not only a powerful way to promote landscape architecture, it can be a powerful way to promote your business as well.  I would venture that most firms marketing programs don’t reach over a million people.

It’s April – get out there and celebrate.

UO Shadow Mentor Day Recap

Thank you so much for your support of this year’s Shadow Mentor Day! It was a huge success. We had a total of 62 student participants placed between 33 offices in Portland, Eugene, Bend, and Seattle. Thanks to the groundwork laid by Roni and last year’s student ASLA team, this year’s SMD is the largest that any involved can recall!



Landscape Architects Connect with Professional Development

Professional development is a process of lifelong learning to gather new skills, to expand knowledge, and to support career advancement. Classes and workshops, webinars and lectures, tours and field work, teaching and mentoring, volunteering and networking are many of the ways that professional development occurs.

Continuing education requirements to maintain licensure are often the focus of a landscape architect’s professional development activities. Keeping current on new technologies, trends and products are critical to the practice of landscape architecture.

Oregon ASLA is committed to making continuing education available to our members and connecting landscape architects with opportunities locally and nationally, online and in person. Last year we reviewed and approved 31 workshops, lectures and events for PDH credits and promoted them in our monthly Newswire and on our website. And this spring, Oregon ASLA hopes to become the next ASLA chapter to become a Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) certified provider. This will allow us to offer Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits at our chapter events that are recognized by many states across the U.S., including Oregon and Washington.

Looking for ways to expand your professional development and continuing education activities? Read more in our listings below.

Chapter and Local Events

Oregon ASLA’s annual Symposium and local section meetings are developed to meet continuing education requirements in the Oregon Administrative Rules administered by the Oregon State Landscape Architect Board (OSLAB).

Check the OR ASLA Events listings for opportunities throughout the state offering a range of continuing education activities. Programs and events offered by other organizations may qualify for PDH credits.

Get Involved!

Volunteering with ASLA or in the community provides opportunities for developing leadership skills, professional networking, and serving the profession. And in some instances, volunteer service qualifies for PDH credit. Serving as an elected officer or appointed member of a professional board or commission may qualify for up to 4 PDHs per year. Mentoring one or more students for one day on Shadow Mentor Day may be eligible for up to 1 PDH.

Oregon ASLA always welcomes volunteers to assist with events, committees and programs. And every summer, our annual Call for Nominations seeks out members who are interested serving on the chapter’s Executive Committee. Contact us to learn more and sign up.

ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO

The ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO offers over 135 courses, allowing attendees to earn up to 21 PDHs. This year’s will be held in New Orleans from October 21-24. The conference theme and education sessions will be announced later this year.

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)

ASLA’s Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) provides listings of professional development and continuing education programs for landscape architects. Programs offered by more than 130 LA CES certified providers are recognized by OSLAB for PDH credits. Look for Oregon ASLA to be added to this list of certified providers later this spring.

ASLA Online Learning

ASLA also offers Online Learning programs and the Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series (LATIS) which qualify for PDH credit. Either by participating in a live webinar, watching a recorded online presentation, or reading one of 11 peer-reviewed papers, you can earn up to 5.0 PDHs. Looking for a more affordable option for getting PDH credits? ASLA members can participate in these programs at a reduced rate.

Helpful Links

Oregon ASLA Brings Focus, Inspiration to Trail Design Workshop

A team of sixteen members of Oregon ASLA, joined by nine members of the Student Chapter of ASLA at the University of Oregon, gathered in Carlton, Oregon on November 13th and 14th for a design workshop for the Yamhelas Westsider Trail, a proposed multimodal transportation corridor in Yamhill County.

Over 50 local residents, business owners, elected officials and agency staff worked directly with the Oregon/UO ASLA team to develop conceptual plans that will guide the future development of the trail. The team solicited input to develop design ideas for elements of the trail including trailheads, wayfinding signage, property access, and connections to key destinations. The workshop concluded with an public open house for the landscape architects to present their design proposals and solicit feedback from the larger community.

YWT Workshop 02

Yamhill County and the non-profit organization, Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, are leading efforts to develop the trail. The design workshop was part of a collaborative planning process funded through a technical assistance grant from the National Parks Service’s Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (NPS RTCA). Carlton-based winery Ken Wright Cellars hosted the workshop and their barrel room provided an inspiring backdrop for our work.

YWT Workshop 01

About the Yamhelas Westsider Trail

The 17-mile long railroad corridor is located in the heart of Oregon’s wine country and provides a link between four cities, two counties and several regionally significant recreation sites, including Henry Hagg Lake and Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Yamhill County has been actively working with the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail, citizens, local businesses and partner agencies including the Cities of Carlton, Yamhill, McMinnville, and Gaston, Washington County, and Oregon Parks and Recreation on the proposed acquisition of the abandoned Union Pacific Railroad right of way from Hagg Lake to OR 99W, near McMinnville.

YWT Trail Segment 04

“The trail will provide a safe, off-street facility for people walking and biking to work, students attending Yamhill-Carlton High School, recreational cyclists and for other local trips in Carlton and Yamhill,” said Yamhill County Commissioner Stan Primozich. “This is a needed investment that has the ability to transform our community.”

The first phase of the project will acquire up to 9 miles of the railroad right-of-way using $1.7 million of Federal Transportation Enhancement funds through a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The acquisition would preserve the rail corridor in one single public ownership. Yamhill County and the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail are actively pursuing additional grant funds to develop the alignment, creating the first regional alternative transportation corridor in the Yamhill Valley.

NPS RTCA Partnership Brings Opportunities

Oregon ASLA participated in the workshop under ASLA’s partnership with NPS RTCA to help communities plan, design and manage their natural, cultural and recreational resources.

Since 2000, ASLA chapters across the country and NPS RTCA have worked together to support dozens of community-led natural resource conservation and recreation projects. This unique partnership, first tested in the Pacific Northwest, expanded opportunities for ASLA chapters and National Park Service staff across the county.

YWT Open House

What’s next?

NPS RTCA staff will work with Yamhill County and the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail to assemble the drawings and information into a concept plan document that will be published in 2016.

“Community leaders from Yamhill County have led the development of this project over several decades and provided the necessary support to secure the federal transportation funds to acquire the rail property,” said Wayne Wiebke with the Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail. “We are excited to be where we are today, developing ideas to guide the design of this future trail.”

Yamhelas Westsider Trail Design Workshop

November 13-14, 2015, Carlton, Oregon

Oregon ASLA: Elizabeth Auvil (Alta Planning + Design), Brian Bainnson (Quatrefoil), Tim Bono (Walker Macy), Arica Duhrkoop-Galas (The Office of Stangeland and Associates; University of Oregon), Gregg Everhart (Parametrix; Everhart LA, LLC), Kate Forester (Herrera Environmental Consultants), Tamra Lehuta (Meier Architecture + Engineering), Aaron Maples (Walker Macy), Arjen Meeuswen (PLACE), Maureen Raad (ESA Vigil Agrimis), Sterling Rung (PLACE), Jean Senechal Biggs (Portland Bureau of Transportation), Shannon Simms (Mayer Reed), Pam Symond (City of Eugene), Robin Wilcox (PLACE), and Alex Zatarain (Stemmler Design).

UO Student Chapter ASLA: Kayla Byrne, Casey Howard, Alison Lewis, John Maxson, Krisztian Megyeri, Peter Obermeyer, Keegan Oneal, Nancy Pierce, and Callan Roemer.

NPS RTCA: Dan Miller and Shawn James

Yamhill County: Jayne Mercer and Brett Henry

Friends of Yamhelas Westsider Trail

Special thanks to our hosts, Ken Wright Cellars.