Cardinals and Broncos at GreenWorks!

ball_state_u calpolypomonaStudents from programs at Ball State University (The Cardinals) and Cal Poly Pomona (The Broncos) visited our office this week. We always love talking to students, introducing them to our office, and giving them a glimpse into what they can expect when they begin their professional lives. It is also edifying for our staff to hear about what the next generation is learning in the classroom that will impact the future of the industry. From what we can see, the future is in great hands. Recent student visitors tell us about their studies in “cradle to cradle” or regenerative design, a holistic approach to design to attain efficient and waste-free environments. Our designers enjoy sharing our green infrastructure projects like the Portland Expo Center Stormwater Green Wall and Clay Street Green Street to illustrate sustainable design in Portland.

Paradise Under the Asphalt

Last weekend, GreenWorkers pitched in at Astor Elementary School’s depaving where a group of 100 volunteers spent a Saturday removing 5,000 square feet of asphalt. The demolition was orchestrated by Depave ( whose mission is to assist communities in transforming their pavement lots into neighborhood greenspaces. The asphalt removal is making way for a new playground which includes a turf mound, group swings, tree groves, and a custom log and boulder climber. GreenWorks was directly hired by Astor PTSO to design the playground which is on schedule for construction this summer.

Depave_JenniferD_Team Astor_Playground_Design.indd Astor_Model_01 Depave_BenJohnson_Team2


Hosford Middle School Stormwater Project

Construction of a swale at Hosford Middle School began during the school’s winter break. It was designed by GreenWorks, PC and constructed by DeSantis Landscapes for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership’s stormwater and schools efforts. The design includes a curved concrete wall and other features that reduce the maintenance efforts needed by Portland Public Schools. The swale infiltrates runoff from approximately 4,600 square feet of the school’s roof and reduces the amount of runoff to the combined sewer system. The rerouted downspout creates a runoff powered water feature by directing water through a series of basalt columns before spilling into the swale. The project provides schoolyard learning opportunities for students, beautifies the school grounds, and supports local and regional efforts to improve the health of our rivers through onsite stormwater management. Students and Estuary Partnership educators will plant several hundred native plants in the swale in the next few weeks. Project partners include Hosford Middle School, the Estuary Partnership and Portland Public Schools. We would like to thank the City of Portland, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, and New Seasons Market for their generous support.



Ace Mentoring Session at GreenWorks

GreenWorks hosted ACE Mentoring, a national program with the mission to engage, excite, and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and construction.

As one of the team leaders of ACE, Claire Maulhardt, landscape designer with GreenWorks, has been involved with this student group to promote the relationship between students and the Landscape Architecture profession.

On January 24th, GreenWorks hosted an ACE Mentoring session geared toward site analysis, site design and the urban landscape. The ACE project this year is focused on an existing high school site that needs a new Career/Technical Education Addition or Arts Addition. Over the course of five months, the mentors will walk the students through the design and construction process using the project as an example. In an effort to instill sustainability in the minds of the students, the design will endeavor to reduce energy, conserve/store water, reduce and/or reuse waste, utilize on-site renewable energy sources, and incorporate the use of recycled materials.

The photographs below show a site planning exercise conducted by the students to determine the best location for the new addition on the existing school site.



GreenWorks Visits U of O Architecture Studio

GreenWorkers Dave Elkin and Jeff Boggess were invited to visit Kevin Nute’s fifth year/grad level architecture studio at the University of Oregon in Eugene on October 11th.  The class is in the first stages of a year-long design process to rethink future development of two decommissioned Titan I nuclear missile complexes built in Northern California during the Cold War era.

Design challenges the students face include reuse of underground building infrastructure, removal of invasive plant species and remediation of contaminated soils and groundwater.

Dave and Jeff offered advice based on past and current bioremediation efforts (aka treatment wetlands and stormwater management), followed by an engaging round table discussion with the students and professor.

Thanks for the invite Kevin!  Good luck and keep us posted.

Grant High School Community Garden Construction Complete!

Northeast Portland Community Gardeners are happily planting, watering, weeding and harvesting food from their plots at the Grant High School Community Garden. The Environmental Club at the High School teamed up with Portland Community Gardens to transform a 7,700 square foot piece of lawn in the front of the school to a garden for the surrounding community. GreenWorks provided the garden design to maximize plot size, provide clear circulation,  and create an aesthetically pleasing space that fits the context of the historic architecture of the school and neighborhood.

Lane Community College Health and Wellness Facility

A few GreenWorks employees recently visited the Lane Community College Health and Wellness Facility at Lane Community College in Eugene to see how the completed project is progressing. The facility functions as the northwestern gateway to the main campus integrating the new facility and existing campus. Clear circulation and a sense of arrival accentuate the overall design, which incorporates stormwater treatment solutions. Exterior spaces are active and engaging areas that translate health and wellness to the landscape.

Awards Granted to Hood River Middle School Music and Science Building!

Music and Science Building at Hood River Middle School

The Hood River Middle School Music and Science Building is a LEED certified project designed as a hands-on learning laboratory, where students interact with the site’s resource systems. The building additions were completed in September 2010.

  • Last week the U.S. Green Building Council certified the Hood River Middle School additions as LEED Platinum, the highest possible LEED rating.
  • The project was also recently named one of the American Institute of Architects Top Ten Green Projects for 2012.

GreenWorks worked closely with school faculty and the design team to create a site that meets school needs while utilizing a small ecological footprint. Resource system information, such as onsite rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment and solar power generation, is tracked and fed to a central dashboard where students monitor the buildings’ resource flows. In the native plant arboretum, each student is responsible for a plant that they care for, water, measure and observe throughout the seasons. The learning garden is an ever-changing canvas, which provides harvests enjoyed by students and the community. Students harvest and sell the produce at the local farmers market and learn permaculture principles in the multisensory, food forest where they grow and harvest plants for food, fiber, dye and other uses. GreenWorks’ services included schematic design, construction documents, specifications, LEED documentation, bidding assistance and construction administration.

Permaculture Garden and Greenhouse Outside of Music and Science Building

Site Plan

Read more about the project on the AIA website here.

Grant High School Community Garden

The Environmental Club at Grant High School in Northeast Portland is in the process of establishing a Community Garden and a Learning Garden in the front of the school. Their inspiration for the gardens came from a desire to give back to the local community, provide fresh food from the garden to the cafeteria, and learn about sustainable agriculture. The students received a grant from State Farm and have teamed up with Portland Community Gardens to make their dream a reality. The Environmental Club enlisted the help of GreenWorks to create a design for the garden that would be aesthetically pleasing to the surrounding community, include two ADA accessible plots, and maximize the available garden space.

Grant High School Community Garden Design

The gardens are located in front of the school in the NE corner of the existing lawn on NE 36th Avenue. Portland Community Gardens will assign the community garden plots on a first come first served basis. The learning garden will be maintained by the environmental club and sustainable agriculture classes as well as the biology, special education and Japanese departments.

On February 16th the Environmental Club and Portland Community Gardens held a Town Hall event where they invited the local community to ask questions and express their concerns about the garden. The attendees voiced an enormous amount of support and enthusiasm for the project. Neighbors are eager to get a spot secured and start gardening!

Two members of the Environmental Club build raised beds for the Learning Garden

GreenWorks was honored to contribute to the creation of the Grant High School Community and Learning Gardens. The Environmental Club has been working on the garden’s implementation for over a year now, coming up against many set-backs and logistical road blocks. They are truly a remarkable group of students who simply wanted to give back to the surrounding community, supply their cafeteria with fresh and healthy food and provide an opportunity for future students to learn about sustainable agriculture.  Follow the Grant High School Community Garden blog here.

Students planting garlic in their classroom nursery in preparation for the upcoming growing season

Beverly Cleary School Completes Bioswale Construction

The school community at Beverly Cleary School in NE Portland recently completed construction on a bioswale as part of an overall landscape plan entitled the “Learning Landscape Project.” The project was inspired to develop a system that improved the school’s impact on urban stormwater. The bioswale works to mitigate the impact of polluted stormwater by collecting and filtering the water before it drains in to sewers, rivers, or streams.

GreenWorks’ Michelle Mathis led the design effort of this project working with the Beverly Cleary School community. The Beverly Cleary K-8 School is a two-campus school; Kindergarten and first grade students are housed at the Hollyrood campus, and the second through eighth grade students are housed at the Fernwood campus. They built and planted a swale at the Fernwood School in the spring of 2006, but the downspouts were never disconnected to feed into the swale.

For more information and a video on the downspout visit:

Riverdale Grade School Final Walk Through Complete

Last week GreenWorks made their final walk through at the new Riverdale School campus, the new development of a 45,000 square foot state-of-the-art, two-story education facility for grades K-8, including approximately 24 classrooms. The project incorporates sustainable site practices and LEED design. In addition to a new education facility, the project provides improved child safety, bus routing, parking and parent drop-off areas as well as a central courtyard for outdoor play and environmental learning areas.


Stormwater Features Completed at Beverly Cleary School

As a Landscape Architect at GreenWorks, I get the chance to work on projects for many local public schools. I am often amazed at how much Portland area students know about rainwater. To some of them the terms rain garden, infiltration, and combined sewer are household words. A few years ago, in a 5th grade class, I lead a discussion on the effects of urban development on stormwater and how increased impervious surfaces speed up and pollute our water . I was barraged with questions about why we continue to let this happen and why someone is not doing more about it. It seems the work of local designers, environmentalists and agencies was not enough for them. It’s refreshing to see this type of concern and curiosity in young people. It inspires me to continue to work with schools.

The school community at Beverly Cleary School in NE Portland was inspired to develop a project that improved their schools effects on urban stormwater.  It took some determination.  They built and planted a swale at their school in the spring of 2006, but the downspouts were never disconnected to feed into the swale.

Fernwood students install and plant a swale in 2006

Recently, a dedicated parent with the support of the school community fostered the project through to completion. GreenWorks donated design and consulting services for the swale and most recently for design of the downspout disconnects. In addition to the downspout design, GreenWorks collaborated with students to measure the soil’s infiltration rate, and helped with contractor coordination during construction. The highlight of the project is the pouring downspout bucket. See it in action below. This living science lab is now open for exploration and learning by the school’s students!

Don Huld from Portland Public Schools and dedicated parent Lynn Raube enjoy the rain and the new downspout disconnect

Michelle Mathis is a Landscape Architect at GreenWorks with 8 years of experience.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, and has a Master’s in Education from Portland State University.

Early Head Start Playground Breaks Ground at Clackamas Community College

After a few months of intensive design, the children at the Clackamas Community College’s Early Head Start are starting to see their playground take shape.  Little hands grasping the chain link construction fence and eyes set on the excavator, they wait patiently as the sea of bark chips is replaced with a natural area for creative play.

Construction manager Stephanie Morgan from GR Morgan Construction placed these signs on the construction fencing so the kids would know what type of equipment was being used.

The Clackamas County Children’s Commission (CCCC) is a non-profit organization that serves children in Clackamas County. Their Early Head Start play space was in need of upgrades. The equipment was out dated and not meeting the physical needs of the young children.

GreenWorks worked with CCCC to develop a plan that fit within their limited space, met development requirements of younger children and offered an alternative play experience from traditional playground equipment. The nature based playground design includes an embankment slide, sand play area, trike loop, potting shed play house, lush planting and timber climbers. GreenWorks helped the client re-invision how to use the existing covered space for additional all season play, how to incorporate appropriate storage, and how play surfacing could extend social areas for music, arts, and classroom activities.

Hood River School Receives Recognition in Portland Monthly

As Hood River School District completes upgrades and building additions to several schools this fall, Hood River Middle school receives recognition for its LEED improvements. (See link to full article below.)

In response to a successful bond measure the Hood River School District has been upgrading, renovating and building additions to their elementary, middle and high schools. GreenWorks helped retrofit existing sites and create new spaces and learning landscapes. Site improvements include plazas, playgrounds, stormwater facilities, outdoor classrooms, performance/ amphitheater spaces, learning gardens and associated landscapes. The site work carefully incorporates the needs of students and how they experience, use and enjoy a site while balancing safety, maintenance and character. GreenWorks services included schematic design, construction documents, specifications, LEED documentation, bidding assistance and construction administration.


For more information visit:

Silver Falls State Park Natural Play Area

Have you ever wanted to nap like a cougar, climb into an ant hill, build a birds nest or dig for insects like a bear? In the coming year you may be able to do all these things and more in the animal themed interpretive,  natural play area at Silver Falls State Park.

GreenWorks has begun work on phase one of the interpretive natural play area at the Park. The idea grew out of the Oregon Parks and Recreation ‘Stepping Stones’ program with the goal to get kids outside and connected with nature.  A 2009 series of workshops with educators, OPRD staff, designers and of course kids, developed themes, ideas and concepts using the Stepping Stones methodology.

The Silver Falls Play area will be animal themed. The young and young at heart can explore a series of play areas situated in a fir and fern wonderland. The first phase of construction will include bear, ant, cougar and bird themed areas. Below are schematic site plans of some of the areas, as well as sketches developed in the design workshops last year. Keep your wild ears open for further design and construction news.

The Cougar Zone at Silver Falls Natural Play Area

Schematic designs were developed from workshop sketches. Here is a Cougar Prowl area sketch.

A Cougar area section created by a workshop participant

Have a wildly fun and safe Labor Day Weekend.

Da Vinci Arts Middle School Awarded LEED Platinum

Da Vinci Arts Middle School was awarded LEED Platinum this week for the Evans-Harvard High Performance Classroom. This prestigious certification makes Da Vinci the first LEED Platinum public school building in the United States. The LEED Platinum certification complements GreenWorks’ portfolio integrating sustainability and high environmental standards not only as a professional standard but to serve as a teaching tool within the school system.

You can check out more information about the project and the certification on the Portland Public Schools website:

Photo Courtesy of Portland Public Schools

Greenies give back for Earth Day

Photo courtesy of Dan Carter of the Daily Journal of Commerce

To celebrate Earth Day 2010, GreenWorks continued its annual tradition of volunteering within the Portland community.  This year staff pitched in at one of its project sites, Da Vinci Arts Middle School, by weeding and caring for several sites within the campus including the water garden and stormwater system.

The Daily Journal of Commerce was there to capture the event, you can check out more Earth Day photos on their website at:

Green Schools Trend Building Movement

Sustainability in educational facilities has been building movement in schools across the Pacific Northwest over the past decade.  Several design firms including GreenWorks have been working toward integrating sustainability in schools not only to set an example of high environmental standards but to serve as a teaching tool for students to learn the value of sustainable thinking.  A recent DJC article highlights this trend with several schools in Oregon and Washington, including Da Vinci Arts Middle School, for which GreenWorks designed  the site work for a modular 21st century classroom that serves as a study model for the school district. GreenWorks continues to work with Science teacher Jason Hieggeokein creating a tree sink project on site. The project will demonstrate the carbon sinking effects of trees in an artistic and inviting way. Inviting the students to explore nature further.

“Unless you can see it and touch it, you don’t understand how it works,” Weekes said. “Seventy percent of students are visual. Having these systems exposed shows there is more to a building than the rooms they happen to occupy. Then you can apply those lessons to math, science and physics in their curriculum.”

Science teacher Jason Hieggeoke uses Da Vinci Arts Middle School’s stormwater treatment garden as a learning tool for his science classes. (Photo by Dan Carter/DJC)

Science teacher Jason Hieggeoke uses Da Vinci Arts Middle School’s stormwater treatment garden as a learning tool for his science classes. (Photo by Dan Carter/DJC)

That is what science teacher Jason Hieggeoke has been doing at Da Vinci Arts Middle School. He has used a water garden, which drains storm water, as a living laboratory.

“There aren’t many special places for kids in schools, and this is one of them,” Hieggeoke said. “We do water quality testing and look for invertebrates. We care for the garden so they learn about conservation. Sometimes they will see the pipes and ask where they are coming from, which gives me the opportunity to explain the storm-water system to them.”

See the full article on the DJC website at:

GreenWorks has worked with a number of teachers and classrooms across Oregon to help incorporate learning landscapes into their schools. Projects include stormwater,  gardens,  native restoration, outdoor classrooms and natural play areas. If your school is heading in this direction and looking for a little design guidance we would love to hear from you.

On the Boards: Lane Community College

From the DJC, July 6, 2009 by  Nathalie Weinstein 


Lane Community College in Eugene will have a new look after its new LCC Health and Wellness Center, designed by SRG Partnership, is connected to the existing campus. Landscape architects at GreenWorks PC are performing a redesign of the college’s main entrance to accomplish this.

The current entrance offers no visual or physical access to the north part of the campus, according to project manager Robin Craig. Architects were tasked with creating a more visually appealing and welcoming entrance to the campus.

“The new opening, ADA-accessible path and native garden allow a visual connection to the north campus,” said Craig, who worked with partner Ron Tendick on the entrance design. “This is a way to combine and coordinate the two halves of the west entry into a welcoming entrance.”

The new ADA-compliant design removes ramps, walkways and oversized plantings in favor of native plantings, such as grasses and low ground cover, and a garden with seating and views of nearby Moonshadow Mountain.

“The native discovery garden is an artful way of creating a welcoming entrance,” said Craig. “It’s used in a nontraditional manner, and allows students and faculty to discover native plantings.”

The $479,000 project is scheduled to be built once federal stimulus funding comes through. Horticulturist Frank Drengacz also helped with the coordination of the project.”

DaVinci School in NY Times

A recent blog post from the NY Times showed  “A prototype green classroom addition under construction at the Da Vinci Arts Middle School in Portland, Ore. includes natural daylighting, passive heating and cooling systems, solar roof tiles and other green features that yield a 70 percent efficiency improvement over Oregon building code requirements.” 


:: image via NY Times Blog

The project by SRG Partnership and the University of Oregon’s Energy Studies in Buildings Lab was aided by pro-bono services from GreenWorks for site improvements and land use issues.   Read the full NYT post about this innovative project here, as well as some additional local coverage in the DJC here.