The Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering placed three teams among the top three in their respective categories at the 28th Annual Associated Schools of Construction Region 6 and 7 Student Competition, held Feb. 4-7 at the J.A. Nugget Casino Resort in Reno, Nev.

OSU captured one team titles at the event, winning the Marine contest, while the Mixed Use and Mechanical teams each finished third.

The marine victory was the fifth for OSU and the third in the last four years. Marine team members for the competition included OSU students Chris Duty, Erik Green, Jordan Hamilton, Rian Leitgeb, Jakob Neuenschwander, and Michael Wilson.

OSU students Nathan Hufendick, Timothy Johnston, Chelsea Laird, Robert Maxey, Arron Min, and Cody Schmelz formed the mechanical team as OSU captured a top-three finish for the fourth consecutive year.

Finally, Tyler Binns, Tyler Hurlbutt, Vincent Matteson, Jeff Nakashima, Devon Renard, and Andrew Riley led the school to a third-place finish in the mixed use competition.

OSU also fielded teams in commercial building, heavy civil, multi-use structures, risk, and pre-constriction, rounding out an impressive showing by the school at the annual event.

The school’s participation at this year’s event was made possible through faculty and staff support in addition to the generous contributions from a number of industry partners. Industry sponsors for the competition included: Kiewit, Kerr Contractors, PMCA Oregon, AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter, Andersen Construction, JE Dunn Construction, Traylor Brothers, Walsh Construction, Fortis Construction, Whitaker/Ellis, Walsh Group, and Todd Hess Building Company.

The annual student competition, which features thousands of students from institutions in 13 states, is held by the ASC, the professional association for the development and advancement of construction education, where the sharing of ideas and knowledge inspires, guides and promotes excellence in curricula, teaching, research and service. This year’s competition featured over 1000 students competing for 44 institutions.

Congratulations to OSU PhD transportation student Masoud Ghodrat Abadi on being selected as the recipient of the 2014-15 Bill Kloos Scholarship. Masoud was selected for the award after his submission of the Busy Beaver board game (a transportation related board game) displayed a creative and unique way to share the transportation engineering field with others.

The scholarship is offered by the Oregon Section of ITE and the Bill Kloos Scholarship Fund to provide financial assistance to students pursuing degrees in transportation engineering or other related fields. It is named after William C. Kloos, who was the Signals and Street Light Manager at the City of Portland for 25 years. Bill was a talented leader, innovative problem solver and mentor to many throughout his career. One of Bill’s unique talents was public speaking and presenting technical information to a wide range of audiences. This scholarship was developed in order to promote the innovative thinking and communication skills of the future transportation professionals.

Candidates are evaluated based on a scholarship “Application” in the form of an essay, presentation/poster, Powerpoint presentation, or video that focuses on transportation/traffic engineering.

Masoud’s selection marks the third time in four years an OSU transportation student was selected for the honor. OSU grad student Jennifer Warner received the scholarship last year.

The PacTrans University Transportation Center recently released a five-minute video about a collaborative research/outreach project led by OSU CCE assistant professor David Hurwitz. The goal of the PacTrans outreach project featured in the video was to examine driver distraction among teenagers in the Pacific Northwest to identify tasks they consider to be distracting and compare that to their self-reported engagement in these same tasks while driving. The group, which includes members from all five PacTrans institutions, recently completed their first journal article, which has been accepted for publication.

During the video, Justin Neill, OSU MSCE ’14, is pictured operating the OSU driving simulator and Sarah McCrea, OSU second-year MS student, closes out the video.

OSU CCE professor David Trejo gave an invited lecture for The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society at the 2015 Middle East – Mediterranean Materials Congress, held in Doha, Qatar. Professor Trejo’s presentation was entitled “Quantifying Material, Environmental, and System Variables Influencing the Structural Performance of Reinforced Concrete Structures Affected by Alkali Silica Reactions.”

Visit the conference website for more information about the talk.

Congratulations to Jennifer Warner, second year MS student at OSU, as she was presented with the 2014 Michael Kyte Outstanding Student of the Year award at the PacTrans Reception during the 94th Transportation Research Boards Annual Meeting.

Each year, Federal Region 10 University Transportation Centers give out the Michael Kyte Outstanding Student of the Year Award to honorees based on accomplishments in three areas: technical merit and research, academic performance, and professionalism and leadership. Warner is advised by OSU CCE assistant professor, Dr. David Hurwitz.

OSU CCE alum David Linton (’10), currently a project engineer at Mackenzie, will be accepting the 2015 Raymond C. Reese Research Prize at the Structures Congress in Portland in April for the paper “Evaluation of Tsunami Loads on Wood-Frame Walls at Full Scale,” published in the Journal of Structural Engineering.

The project was conducted at the O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory as part of NSF’s NEES program. Co-authors include Prof. Rakesh Gupta in (College of Forestry), Prof. Dan Cox (College of Engineering), Prof. John van de Lindt (Colorado State University), Mary Beth Berkes (’10 Ocean Engineering), and Milo Clauson (College of Forestry).

This paper addresses tsunami loads on wood buildings through full-scale experimentation and is a crucial topic in the design of tsunami-prone structures, which has not received adequate attention in the field. The authors placed full-scale walls in a tsunami testing facility to investigate how a flexible structure performed when subjected to a solitary wave bore. The hydrodynamic conditions (water level and bore speed) and structural response (horizontal force, pressure, and deflection) were observed for a range of incident tsunami heights and for several wood wall framing configurations.

For each tsunami wave height tested, the force and pressure profiles showed a transient peak force followed by a period of sustained quasi-static force. The observed ratio of the transient force to quasi-static force was found to be close to 2.2. This value was compared with the measured forces with predictive equations from the literature and observed wood wall performance under such extreme loading. It was found that existing equations predicted the measured forces on the vertical wall within an accuracy of approximately 20%.

The study represents a significant step toward understanding the complex nature of wave structure interaction, particularly the performance of light-frame wood construction, which is commonly used around the world. Given the paucity of full-scale experimental data, the advances made by this paper are considered seminal and will most probably influence the field of tsunami engineering in the future.

The Raymond C. Reese Research Prize is awarded to the author or authors of a paper that describes a notable achievement in research related to structural engineering.

A computer algorithm detected this past landslide in the Stillaguamish Valley of Washington.

Photonics.com recently highlighted research conducted at the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering with the discovery that algorithms could speed LiDAR assessments of landslide risks. An excerpt of the article appears below:

Created by researchers at Oregon State University and George Mason University, the Contour Connection Method (CCM) is based on lidar data and requires minimal user input. The developers say it can analyze and classify landslide risk in an area of 50 or more square miles in about 30 minutes, a task that would otherwise take an expert several weeks to months to complete. 

To view the complete article on photonics.com, follow this link.

The Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering will host a pair of facility open houses on Thursday, Oct. 16, to introduce two new water research Oregon BEST laboratories. An open house and ribbon cutting for the Multipurpose Hydraulics Research Facility will take place at 11:45 a.m. at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory followed by an open house at 4:00 p.m. for the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility at the Benton County Avery Facility.

The Multipurpose River Hydraulics Research Facility features a recirculating system with the ability to test two simultaneous and independent experiments with flows of up to 35 cubic feet per second. The facility is ideal for the construction and testing of river and low head pressurized hydraulic structures, and it can also be used for a wide range of research projects, including flood control, reservoir sedimentation, density currents, erosion and scour, aquatic habitat, stream restoration, fish passage and dam removal.

The $600,000 facility, led by OSU water resources professor Arturo Leon, consists of a re-circulating system with a 20-m x 8-m concrete slab (platform for experiments), two independent head tanks, a sediment catchment, a clean water sump, pumps, and impulsion and return pipe lines. Partners for the lab include United State Environmental Protection Agency, Oregon BEST, OSU, and Northwest Research Associates.

To RSVP for the open house, contact OSU professor Arturo Leon.

The OSU-Benton County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility is a three-celled stormwater research facility for field-scale experiments and testing on green infrastructure (e.g., raingardens, bioswales, etc.). The cells provide the ability to test various stormwater treatment technologies and treatment of various stormwater contaminants. These cells are also instrumented with multiple sensors to enable better data collection and modeling.

Pollutants captured at the $110,000 facility include tractor leaks, fuel tank spills, raw asphalt, road fill sediment, parking lot sediments and chemicals, and road paint spills. In addition to stormwater treatment, this facility supports long term research on stormwater quality to inform current and future projects for treating stormwater using ‘low impact development’ technology.

“The data from this facility will enable us to develop clear recommendations for cities that are facing the overwhelming choices in green stormwater technologies,” said OSU water resources professor Meghna Babbar-Sebens, who is co-director of the facility with Leon. “The facility also provides capabilities for conducting short term as well as long term experiments on different types of innovative green technologies.”

Those in attendance will be able to learn about the partnership project to enhance water quality, provide long-term research and support stormwater and water quality education and outreach. Partners in the project include Benton County, Oregon State University, Oregon BEST, State of Oregon Water Resources Department, and the Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium.

To RSVP for the stormwater research facilty open house, contact Meghna Babbar-Sebens or Benton County Projects Coordinator Adam Stebbins.

5619603229_809ddb56c5_oA task force that studied implementation of the Oregon Resilience Plan submitted to the Oregon legislature an ambitious program to save lives, mitigate damage and prepare for a massive subduction zone earthquake and tsunami looming in the future of the Pacific Northwest.

The recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Resilience Plan Implementation, if enacted, would result in spending more than $200 million every biennium in a long-term initiative.

The program would touch everyone from energy providers and utility companies to their customers, parents and school children, businesses, builders, land use regulators, transportation planners and fire responders. It would become one of the most aggressive efforts in the nation to prepare for a costly, life-threatening disaster that’s seen as both catastrophic and inevitable.

“We have a clear plan for what needs to be done, and now is the time to take our first significant steps forward,” said Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, chair of the Governor’s Task Force, and an expert on liquefaction and earthquake engineering who has studied disasters all over the world, similar to those that Oregon will face.

“The scope of the disaster that the Pacific Northwest faces is daunting,” Ashford said. “And we won’t be able to accomplish everything we need to do in one or two years, but hopefully we won’t have to. What’s important is to get started, and the time for that is now.”

The task force making these recommendations included members of the Oregon legislature; advisers to Gov. Kitzhaber; private companies; the Oregon Office of Emergency Management; Oregon Department of Transportation; the Oregon Health Authority; city, county  and business leaders; the Red Cross and others.

The Oregon Resilience Plan, which was completed in early 2013, outlines more than 140 recommendations to reduce risk and improve recovery from a massive earthquake and tsunami that’s anticipated on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, similar to the one that hit Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

The newest analysis identified specific steps that are recommended for the 2015-17 biennium. They address not only earthquake damage, but also the special risks facing coastal residents from what is expected to be a major tsunami.

One of the largest single steps would be biennial funding of $200 million or more for the OBDD/IFA Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program, with similar or higher levels of funding in the future. Funds could be used to rehabilitate existing public structures such as schools to improve their seismic safety; demolish unsafe structures; or replace facilities that must be moved out of a tsunami inundation zone.

It was recommended that additional revenue be identified to complete work within a decade on the most critical roads and bridges that form “backbone” transportation routes; that the state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries receive $20 million to update inventory and evaluate critical facilities; and that $5 million be made available through existing programs for tsunami resilience planning by coastal communities.

Utility companies regulated by the Oregon Public Utility Commission would also be required to conduct seismic assessments of their facilities, and be allowed through rate increases to recover their costs if they make prudent investments to mitigate vulnerabilities.

When I studied areas that had been hard-hit by earthquakes in Chile, New Zealand and Japan, it became apparent that money spent to prepare for and minimize damage from the earthquake was hugely cost-effective,” Ashford said.

“One utility company in New Zealand said they saved about $10 for every $1 they had spent in retrofitting and rebuilding their infrastructure,” he said. “There’s a lot we can do right now that will make a difference and save money in the long run.”

Other key recommendations included:

  • Establish a resilience policy adviser to the governor;
  • Use the most recent tsunami hazard maps to redefine the inundation zone for construction;
  • Provide $1 million annually for scientific research by Oregon universities, to provide matching funds for earthquake research supported by the state, federal government or private industry;
  • Provide $500,000 to the Office of Emergency Management for educational programs and training aimed at managers, agencies, businesses and the general public;
  • Provide $500,000 to the Department of Education to lead a K-12 educational program;
  • Require water providers and wastewater agencies to complete a seismic risk assessment and mitigation plan, as part of periodic updates to master plans;
  • Require firefighting agencies, water providers and emergency management officials to create joint standards to use in a firefighting response to a large seismic event.

“Our next steps will include a lot of discussion, with the legislature, with business and community leaders, with the general public all over the state,” Ashford said. “The challenges we face are enormous but I really believe Oregonians are ready to take an important step toward resilience. This is our chance.”


Article via OSU News and Research Communications

Jennifer Warner captured first-place at the summit with her presentation on "Right Hook Crash Mitigations."
Jennifer Warner captured first-place at the summit with her presentation on “Right Hook Crash Mitigations.”

This past week, 12 students from the Oregon State University School of Civil and Construction Engineering attended the annual Oregon Transportation Summit in Portland, hosted by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium and Portland State University.  The summit brought together Oregon’s academic and transportation professionals to advance the state of the field by accelerating new research into practice and by shaping the agenda for future research. OSU’s trip was highlighted by graduate student Jennifer Warner’s first-place finish in the Three-Minute Thesis Competition, for her presentation on “Right Hook Crash Mitigations.”

“The summit was a huge success,” OSU graduate student Rachel Vogt said. “We were able to expand our knowledge of transportation while networking with professionals and academics from across Oregon.”

The summit featured a plenary session with Sue Groth from MinnDOT, Troy Costales from Oregon Transportation Safety Division, and Leah Treat from City of Portland, all of whom discussed “Envisioning Vision Zero” or reducing the amount of traffic related incidents to zero fatalities.  Their thought-provoking topics focused on the recent safety initiatives at the national, state, and local levels.  Additionally, the students had the opportunity to listen to the keynote speaker, Jarrett Walker of Jarrett Walker & Associates, give a talk on the benefits of considering the rational choices surrounding public transit, and how doing so can enrich our communities and our lives.

Five of the OSU students in attendance, (Sarah McCrea, Rachel Vogt, Jennifer Warner, Julia Kautz, and Medha Jannat) presented their ongoing research projects during the student poster session. Through this session, they were able to discuss their work with the leading professionals and researchers from Oregon.

Three students, (Dylan Anderson, Jasmine Pahukula, and Jennifer Warner), participated in the Three-Minute Thesis Competition, where students had three minutes and one slide to present their research work to a panel of judges and captivate the interest of the audience.