ASLA Oregon Fellows Announced

Please join the Oregon Chapter of ASLA in congratulating Michael Faha and Dr. Robert Ribe on receiving the honor of Fellow from the American Society of Landscape Architects. The American Society of Landscape Architects has elevated 37 members to the ASLA Council of Fellows for 2015. The Oregon chapter submitted two nominations this year, and is proud that both of our very deserving nominees have been awarded with the highest honor ASLA bestows on members.

Mike Faha, of GreenWorks, received his nomination in Works. Faha is a pioneer, innovator, and educator. He is one of the nation’s first landscape architects to demonstrate that ecological function can be achieved in concert with urbanism and aesthetic beauty, and he continues to influence the way we design and build. For 25 years his work has served to elevate the profession and to put landscape architects at project tables traditionally dominated by engineers, ecologists, planners, and architects. Internationally recognized, his projects transform cities, towns, and rural areas, and encompass daylighting streams, brownfield reclamation and stormwater control, from the scale of expansive urban watersheds and development sites to intimate rain gardens. His built projects in the Pacific Northwest have been toured by thousands of visitors who seek to understand the principles and practicalities of ecological design excellence.

Robert Ribe, of the University of Oregon, receive his nomination in Knowledge. Ribe is a leader in the practice of scenery management by landscape architects. At the University of Oregon, he teaches ecological planning studios and research methods to students in landscape architecture, planning, and environmental studies. From 1999 to 2010 he directed the Institute for Sustainable Environment (ISE), leading that interdisciplinary group to provide primary research and advise to governments in Oregon and Washington on issues of growth ecosystem preservation and agricultural and forest productivity. His research on the theory of forest landscapes has advanced that body of knowledge internationally. His work is methodologically rigorous and applicable to the real world. His collaborations have investigated public landscape perceptions extensively and built strong evidence that validates regional landscape plans and policies. He is also a prolific author.

The designation of Fellow is conferred on individuals in recognition of exceptional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Individuals considered for this distinction must be full members of ASLA in good standing for at least ten years and must be recommended to the Council of Fellows by the Executive Committee of their local chapter, the Executive Committee of ASLA, or the Executive Committee of the Council of Fellows.

More details available at the ASLA National Website.

Design Work Begins at Leach Botanical Gardens

Design work is underway at Leach Botanical Garden. Leach Botanical Garden is located in SE Portland off Foster Road at 122nd Avenue. The Garden opened to the public in 1983 as a partnership between Leach Garden Friends and Portland Parks & Recreation. The core of the Garden is the estate of John and Lilla Leach, who went on botanical expeditions and, in the 1930s, built the Manor House and began the gardens that bear their name.

Following a request for qualifications from Portland Parks & Recreation, the design team headed by Land Morphology andOlson-Kundig Architects has been selected. Nearly eight acres in the undeveloped Upper Garden will offer new botanical and programmatic experiences to visitors and make a connection to the historic Garden and Manor House along Johnson Creek. The design intends that Leach become the signature public cultural attraction in East Portland.

Find out more about this project by viewing the project information sheet. You can also provide feedback on the project by using this comment card.

LANDbytes: Designed by a Landscape Architect

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

The social media campaign during World Landscape Architecture Month was a great success, thanks to you! Take a moment to review the following numbers; the number of posts is relatively small in comparison to the amount of people reached. See what an impact you made?

4,000 posts with the WLAM hashtag
3 million people reached
13 million total impressions

Pretty impressive! So impressive that ASLA National would like to continue the campaign, but this time with the different hashtag, #ThisIsLandArch. You can still use the same “Designed by a Landscape Architect” cards, but post the photo on your favorite social media venue with this new hashtag. National staff will then share a selection of posts on a variety of national’s media platforms.

Think about that for a moment. Even if your firm’s Facebook page is lucky enough to have 300, or even 1000 followers, the national ASLA page can reach 4,500 people. That is a lot of people seeing your firm’s work and your firm’s name. You can promote your business, and your profession at the same time.

How to participate in #ThisIsLandArch:
1. Download and print out a “Designed by a Landscape Architect” card
2. Go to your favorite landscape-architect-designed space
3. Take a picture of it with the Designed by a Landscape Architect” card
4. Upload your image to social media with #ThisIsLandArch

Looking forward to seeing Oregon represented nation-wide!

LANDbytes: World Landscape Architecture Month

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

If you haven’t heard yet, April is not just Landscape Architecture Month (LAM) anymore; it’s WORLD Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM). In past years, the ASLA has celebrated LAM every April, sponsoring a series of events across the country. Eventually the ASLA realized that the United States was pretty much the only country to not celebrate landscape architecture with the rest of the world. Other countries were celebrating WLAM, and now we are too.

To start off the celebration, each ASLA chapter chose another country to exchange ideas during the month and Oregon’s country is Denmark. To kick off the celebration, national ASLA describes our first activity:

“During WLAM, we are asking ASLA chapters and IFLA organizations to join in the celebration by participating in our “Designed by a Landscape Architect” campaign. People around the world will use the attached cards to take pictures of iconic or unique landscapes with the hashtag #WLAM2015 and sharing them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Then, please go to to submit the picture so ASLA can catalogue everything.”

To get your own business card sized WLAM card, just follow the link. Print it out and start sharing with the world all the great places that landscape architects have designed (be sure to include the hashtag #WLAM2015). You can give cards to friends and family as well, especially if they are traveling. Pictures don’t need to be taken just in Oregon; it’s anywhere a space has been designed by a landscape architect. It’s a fun and easy way to learn more about the world around us and expand our design community.

Students – you are part of this too! Start thinking of ways you can connect with other student groups in Denmark. Do you want a Skype Q & A session? Create You Tube channel and post a series of videos about Oregon landscape architecture? Let me know what you would like to do and I’ll try and coordinate with our IFLA partner.

P.S. Another fun event that is in the works; sketch walks in collaboration with International Sketchers. Get those pencils sharpened!

Check the Oregon ASLA website soon for more details about the “Designed by a Landscape Architect” social media event. The upshot: print out an easy to carry, business card sized WLAM card that reads, “Designed by a Landscape Architect”, take a picture of the card at various places (you guessed it) designed by a landscape architect, then post the picture to your favorite social media with our hashtag. Show the world what landscape architects create!


LANDbytes: Clear Communication

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

Clear communication is tough. Have you ever sent what you think is a carefully crafted email to someone and later found that the reader got a totally different message? Crowded days, media saturation, and short attention spans all make it difficult to communicate, especially to a diverse group of people. Contractors, consultants, clients, municipalities, co-workers all need to have a clear idea of what going on in a project, but each one of them will read the message in a slightly different way. If someone gets the wrong meaning, it can quickly turn your project into a mess of emails, phone calls, and costly delays.

At the recent National ASLA Public Awareness Summit we learned how to promote landscape architecture as a profession, but many of these points could be applied to day to day business. The ASLA hired public relations (PR) expert Cindy Powell, of CP Knowhow, LLC, to work with us for a year to increase our PR skills. The following is an excerpt based on her recent presentation.

Tips for better correspondence
1. Know your audience: if they are surveyors, realize they often leave the office at first light. Your email at 8am, asking them to locate the water line that day, is going to be too late.

2. Email subject line: make it short and clear. It’s a good idea to have the project name in the title so people can find it when they search for it in the future.

3. Greeting: get the name(s) right and get to the point quickly.

4. Remember the 5 W’s: who, what, where, why, and how.

5. Use bullets: people can get to the details quickly.

6. Call for action: if you need them to do something, let them know when and how. Be specific.

7. Check your spelling.

8. Take a moment to proofread.

These tips are not conclusive, but they are a basis for better communication in the workplace. During the next year, I will relay some portions of what we learned last weekend. While I am the Oregon representative for public awareness (telling the public about landscape architecture), I can’t promote our work alone. I need help. The more we, as landscape architects and designers, practice these PR skills in the day-to-day, the better we will represent landscape architecture as a profession.

LANDbytes: Letter from the President

By Mauricio J. Villarreal, PLA, ASLA – OR Chapter President

Accolades for OR ASLA! We ended 2014 with a smashing success holding one of the largest Design Awards Soiree in our chapter’s history and benefiting from ASLA’s selection as the third in a series of guides focused on sustainable American cities. “The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Portland” illustrates why our community is viewed as a model of sustainability and consistently ranks high on the livability charts. An amazing labor of love from the ASLA and local landscape architects, the guide illustrates our passion for environment and innovation. Explore it yourself at

2015 promises to be just as memorable with an enthusiastic Executive Committee and a talented group of volunteers dedicated to raising awareness of our profession. We are committed to the Chapter’s legacy of sharing our collective knowledge, serving as stewards of our environment, and promoting the collaborative spirit of the Oregon’s design community.

This year, we should be mindful in reaching to fellow colleagues in related professions to join us for an exchange of ideas at the annual meeting. Developments are underway for the Livable Cities-themed Design Symposium. With global perspective, we should remain focused on Oregon, exploring conditions and opportunities for sustainable development and mobility, robust and diverse communities and civic engagement, resilient economy, and protecting natural areas while crafting vibrant and viable public open space.

With you in mind, the emerging professionals + Student Liaison committee, education + professional development committee, symposium + awards planning committee, and the fellows + honors nomination committee are also diligently crafting the social and educational calendar for 2015.

On behalf of the Oregon ASLA, thank you for your enthusiasm and support and looking forward to seeing you soon.

Mauricio Villarreal
ASLA OR – President

LANDbytes: The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Portland

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

The ASLA has just unveiled a new guide in the “Landscape Architect’s Guide” series. In the past few years, we saw guides to Washington D.C. and Boston – this time Portland is the city under review. This time the ASLA decided to do something different; instead of dividing the guide up into geographic neighborhoods, the Portland Guide focuses on the elements of sustainability and the sites that best illustrate this within the Portland area. Eleven local landscape architects were chosen to explain why Portland is viewed as a model of sustainability and consistently ranks high on the livability charts. If you haven’t taken a moment to look through the guide, please do. It’s an amazing labor of love from the ASLA and the local landscape architects.

When you do explore the guide, don’t forget to share it with your friends and colleagues through email or social media. Whether you live in Portland or not, this guide is a great way to show the breadth of what landscape architects can accomplish – much more than just filling in the plant chart. One word of caution; before you do share this website with your friends outside the landscape architecture realm, take a moment to think about what you will say. I have been boring people left and right, all summer long, with the news of this upcoming website. Whenever I got a chance, I would chat about this new thing that landscape architect’s were doing. After the glazed eyes would clear, this is the question I heard most,

“why are landscape architects writing about this?” or “what makes landscape architects good people to write this?”

It’s a good question and one that you should be prepared to answer in a cogent manner. The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Portland is a great way to open up conversations about design, ecology, and landscape architecture. Make the most of it – be ready to talk about landscape architecture.

Explore The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Portland

LANDbytes: Quarterly Report

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

Three years ago this month, Christopher Olin, Ben Johnson, and Rebecca Wahlstrom began monthly ASLA LANDbytes articles, “Oregon Chapter’s premier e-publication showcasing articles, briefs, reviews, spotlights and more!“ Happy Anniversary!  Beginning in August, LANDbytes will move from a monthly format to a quarterly publication, thus allowing members of the Oregon design community to have time to write about what is happening in their part of the state. We want to hear from you! Please tell us if you have found some new CAD tips and tricks or discovered a great resource of information. Have you run across a persistent problem and want people to know and respond to it? Do you have something wonderful happening in your area?  Write about it! Consider LANDbytes as the quarterly report on the state of design in Oregon; letting people know what is happening in each of the sections across the state.

This is your chance to speak up and be heard, so take advantage of this opportunity. Student, designer, or landscape architect…the more voices we have lending wisdom and experience, the stronger our community will become. LANDbytes will be published in January, April, July, and October, and articles are due on the 15th of those months.  There is no prescribed length, but do keep it concise for the busy ASLA readers.

Please send any ideas/articles to We are looking forward to hearing from you soon!

LANDbytes: What’s Happening at ASLA

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

Your Oregon Chapter ASLA executive committee has been working hard since last fall to provide learning and networking opportunities for its members. The current committee’s year started soon after the election by quickly gearing up for the 2014 spring symposium. Anyone who has been a part of symposium organizing realizes just what a lot of work this entails and just how many people are needed to make the event a success. After the well-received symposium was over, the executive committee took a collective breath and took a short break from event planning. Read the event recap here;

The executive committee was not destined to rest for long, the national ASLA office sent a message in early spring asking if the Oregon Chapter was willing to take on the latest online “Landscape Architects Guide” tour. After some discussion, the brave group said yes, making Portland the first west coast city to be explored through the eyes of the ASLA. The guide will be looking at the different design elements that have made Portland known across the nation for its sustainable choices (Water, Transportation, Food, etc). Be on the lookout in the fall for the final results! If you want to see the existing tour guides for Washington, D.C. and Boston, check it out here; D.C. and Boston

The executive committee is getting involved in the community in other ways; the EP group and Urban Green have both spearheaded numerous events and activities that get landscape architects and designers out into the public realm and talking to one another. The Urban Green series has an added bonus that licensed practitioners can earn PDH credits at many events. If you want to be aware of upcoming EP or Urban Green events, please check the website for updates and be sure to get on the email list. EP page: Urban Green events:

This past month, Melinda Graham, Mauricio Villarreal, Brian Bainnson, and Robin Lee Gyorgyfalvy went to Washington D.C. to meet with other leaders in ASLA chapters across the nation.  This is a wonderful opportunity to learn from the successes (and failures) seen in other chapters.  It is also an opportunity to lobby policy makers and promote the landscape architecture on what is affectionately known as “Lobby Day” …if you ask nicely, they just might show you their picture with Jeff Merkley.

By May/June, the executive committee was already starting planning for the fall Design Awards Soiree. Again, many details and many people all exert a concerted effort to put on a great event which will celebrate the design achievements of Oregon landscape architects and designers. Get ready for another great party this fall!

Around this time, there are also elections to the vacant seats in the executive committee; the executive committee is interested in hearing nominations for the vacancies. Some readers might laugh or cringe at those words, but serving on the ASLA executive committee is a great way to give back to the Oregon design community and a chance to make a difference in our profession.

If you see any of your ASLA Oregon Chapter Executive Committee members, please give them a high five for all the work that they are doing on your behalf. The committee members are:
Melinda Graham, ASLA – President
Mauricio Villarreal, ASLA – Vice-President
Kurt Lango, ASLA – Immediate Past President
Claudia Sims, ASLA – Secretary
Gill Williams, ASLA – Treasurer
Amy Cooney, ASLA – Vice President Chapter Services
Robin Wilcox, ASLA – Vice President Member Services
Brian Bainnson, ASLA – Trustee
Brigitte Huneke, ASLA – Student Chapter Liaison
Renee Wilkinson, ASLA – Communications Chair/Member at Large
Arthur Graves – Education Chair/Member at Large
Jesse Stemmler, ASLA – Mt. Hood Section Co-Chair
Rachel Hill, ASLA – Mt. Hood Section Co-Chair
Robin Lee Gyorgyfalvy, FASLA – High Desert Section Chair
Justin Lanphear, ASLA – Willamette Valley Section Co-Chair
Arica Duhrkoop-Galas, ASLA – Willamette Valley Section Co-Chair

That is, give them a high-five if you can catch them as they prepare for the next ASLA adventure – the Oregon Chapter Executive committee are a busy bunch of professionals.

If you are interested in finding out more about how you can get involved and more about membership, please check out the following information:
Visit the ASLA Membership Page!

LANDbytes: Oregon 2050

By Rebecca Wahlstrom

Way back in the early part of this century, development was booming and projects were being built in record numbers across the country. Then came 2008 and many projects came to an abrupt end with the economic crash. In that same year (during some of their unaccustomed free time), a collection of Fellows from the ASLA, APA, and AIA came together and started talking about the future of Oregon in terms of livability and overall health. They recognized that the landmark policies that have made Oregon a better place to live were vital, but they also saw that landscapes and needs can rapidly change. It was time to renew efforts to sustain and improve aspects that make Oregon a healthy and vibrant place to live.  To better understand the Oregon 2050 objectives, I asked two of the leading Oregon 2050 proponents, Carol Mayer Reed, FASLA and Brian Campbell, FAICP a series of questions. Read on to find out what they have to say about the future of Oregon through “enhancing livability, prosperity and sustainability”.

1. Why was ‘Oregon 2050’ created and who is this effort meant to include?
Brian: Oregon 2050 grew out of a bi-state, multi-organizational effort over the last few years to address the major challenges of our time: climate change, economic stagnation and inequity, natural resource crises, and political gridlock. The Northwest Livability Challenge made up of representatives of planning, urban design, landscape architecture and architecture held a number of local, regional and national conversations among professional groups to articulate a set of long range goals and along with actions to achieve them. We also felt that the only way to make progress towards these ambitious goals within Oregon would be to form an Alliance among like-minded organizations that could help change how the public thinks about these major challenges and what is necessary to address them. Ultimately we need to challenge the “public will,” and pressure decision makers at all levels to confront the seriousness of our situation head on. Creating the Oregon 2050 Initiative and Alliance is our best opportunity to create an Oregon we all can be proud of in the future.

Carol: While this movement initially started with a few Fellows of the APA, AIA and ASLA, it is now growing to encompass non-profits such as health and environmental organizations.

2. There are five goals that are central to your vision; “1. Reduce climate change vulnerability and enhance natural system health. 2. Progress toward a productive, inclusive and sustainable economy. 3. Extend efforts to create a healthy, informed and equitable society 4. Renew and deepen efforts to make vibrant cities and towns 5. Reinvigorate and reshape our systems for increasing civic engagement and cultivating leadership and effective governance.”

At first glance, readers might step back and say think that it is all well and good, but how can landscape architects ever do all this?
Carol: The great news is, we are collaborators by nature and our work has an important role to play. Yet much of what we do must relate to a higher regulatory framework such as zoning and land use for example. Landscape architects plan and design the public realm and private work that that directly affect the quality of life. We are a key part of shaping our communities and protecting natural resources by designing social infrastructure, walkable neighborhoods and the physical places that people inhabit. Almost every part of what we do should be considered for its contribution to and support of the overall Oregon 2050 goals.

3. How do you see this vision becoming reality?
Brian: Right now we are focusing on building an Alliance of organizations, and have not yet figured out how we can incorporate individuals into this effort. But this is very much a work in progress and once we have some “capacity” (i.e. people and money) to carry this program to the next level, then we can develop a strategy for communications and awareness and build a movement to carry it out.

Carol: We need to collectively exert more influence at the governance level of our state down to the grass roots level. Unlike the “Occupy” movement that seemed to lack definition, our goal is to provide more understanding of the issues while identifying specific actions in order to achieve positive results. But we certainly can’t wait for Oregon 2050 to figure it out and tell us what we need to do. For example, how do we reinforce the value of the land use laws we already have in this state and not take them for granted? I think it is up to all of us to constantly pay attention and consider the various ways we can advocate for, design and build livable communities.

4. The ASLA Oregon Chapter Executive Committee recently voted to support the Oregon 2050 vision – what does that mean for your group?
Carol: At the first level of the Alliance endorsement are the Oregon APA, ASLA and AIA. Then we have a list of other targeted signature organizations throughout the state. Since we, as landscape architects, already are involved in conversations about the issues, it was not difficult to explain the movement to the ASLA Executive Committee. Thank you for your endorsement!

5. When people read of your work and want to take part, how can they help support your efforts?
Carol: I think we need to keep these higher level goals in mind as we us address our daily challenges. At the scale of the built environment versus the larger planning level, we need to continue to advocate for the principles behind healthy, livable communities. How do we initiate these conversations with our clients and with the public? Sometimes we do this just one project at a time, and through public engagement or volunteer efforts. I think our recent Oregon Chapter symposium, Intervene, is an excellent example of how we, as landscape architects, have such thoughtful discussions among ourselves. But we need to be prepared to apply these ideas with others outside the profession in order to effect change.

Find out more about Oregon 2050 here!