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Dr. Tadesse Meskele Accepted to the EERI’s 2020 Class of Housner Fellows!

Tadesse Meskele, PhD, PE, has been selected by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) as a member of the 2020 Class of Housner Fellows. After a rigorous and competitive application process, Dr. Meskele is one of six Fellows selected by the EERI Housner Fellows Management Committee for the 2020 Class. During his two-year commitment to the program, Dr. Meskele will participate in a wide variety of dynamic educational events, conferences, supporting policies for seismic resiliency.  We are excited that Dr. Meskele has this amazing opportunity and that he will be an integral part of the EERI community over the next two years.

As a Housner Fellow, Dr. Meskele will participate in the Housner Institute, a week-long program of advanced classroom instruction under the direction of the Housner Fellows Management Committee. EERI Board Member, Dr. Lucy Arendt, has been selected to be the dedicated mentor and trainer for the six new Fellows. Currently, Housner Institute is planned for early August 2020. Part of the program includes a group project to support public policy and seismic risk reduction. Dr. Meskele will collaborate with the other highly talented Fellows to develop and implement the project before August 31, 2022, and their project will be presented during a webinar distributed to the EERI membership. In addition to the group project, other activities include policy development, attendance of regular meetings, and attendance at the 73rd EERI Annual Meeting in March of 2021 and/or the 12th National Conference on Earthquake Engineering (NCEE) in Summer 2022.

EERI is a leader of earthquake investigation, providing community awareness of minimizing seismic risk to infrastructure, and advancing the science and expertise for seismic studies. GRI is an active member of EERI and participates in providing innovative geotechnical and geological engineering for seismic resiliency studies. For more than 35 years, GRI has helped agencies across the Pacific Northwest in identifying ways to rehabilitate, retrofit, or replace infrastructure with seismic resilience in mind. Some of Dr. Meskele’s notable projects have included seismic upgrade and retrofit of the Oregon State Capitol complex in Salem, Oregon, and the Portland International Airport (PDX) north and south runways in Portland, Oregon; as well as seismic design for the Willamette Water Supply Program (WWSP) Raw Water Facilities and Reservoir No. 1 in Wilsonville, Oregon, and the Oregon State University (OSU) Marine Studies Initiative (MSI) building. The OSU MSI building will provide vertical evacuation site for a tsunami event, in the coastal town of Newport, Oregon. He also helped lead the geotechnical services for the research-based evaluation of seismic effects on transmission lines and major components for CEATI International, Inc.

Dr. Meskele attended the 2020 National Earthquake Conference and 72nd EERI Annual Meeting this past March and with GRI Associate Jason Bock co-authored and presented a poster on Ground Motion Directionality for Large Megathrust Subduction Zone Earthquakes. This study examined the directionality of large megathrust subduction zone ground motions (Mw ≥8.0). The authors developed empirical models for various directionality ratios definitions and compared the results with existing models based on ground motion for shallow crustal earthquakes in active tectonic regions. In general, the empirical models in this study were found to be consistent with the existing models. An important observation from this study is that the current ASCE 7-16 scale factors are found to significantly underestimate the spectral ratio at short periods and overestimate at long periods. It is anticipated that the results from this study supplement the knowledge base for spectral ratios and provide updates to the regions where the seismic hazard is dominated by subduction zone events. The authors plan on analyzing additional large megathrust subduction zone ground motions to confirm or modify the proposed models. GRI financially aided the study and supports the authors in the next steps of their research.


History of the Housner Fellows Program:

(Full history can be found on the EERI Housner Fellows Program Page: https://www.eeri.org/projects/housner-fellows-program/)

EERI implemented the Housner Fellows Program in 2011 to identify talented individuals in the industry to exercise leadership and technical expertise to reduce earthquake risk. Earthquake engineering and seismic mitigation have advanced dramatically over the past 70 years, in part due to the advocacy and persistence of industry leaders. The Housner Program was named after Professor Dr. George Housner, PhD, who made a significant impact to the industry in his advancement of earthquake safety.

Visit the EERI website for more information: https://www.eeri.org/about-eeri/our-mission/

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Vancouver Waterfront Park

GRI Receives Honors at Engineering Excellence Awards

GRI was part of a consultant team for the Vancouver Waterfront Park and Grant Street Pier project that took top honors as ACEC Oregon’s 2019 Project of the Year and received the People’s Choice Award! It was an honor to work with such a great team to create public access to the river for the first time in over a century.

GRI also received an Honor Award for advanced geotechnical testing and engineering for the Portland State University School of Business project, as well as for geotechnical/geologic services for the FHWA Mirror Lake Trailhead Relocation project.

You can read more about the nominees and winners in DJC Oregon’s 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards magazine.

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Drilling rig at OSU MSI site in Newport, Oregon

ASCE Article Highlights Tsunami-Resistant OSU MSI Building

ASCE recently published an article in Civil Engineering Magazine about efforts the engineering community is making to protect coastal communities in tsunami inundation zones. The article highlights the innovative tsunami-resistant design of the Oregon State University Marine Studies Initiative Building—currently under construction in Newport, Oregon. GRI had the opportunity to conduct a subsurface exploration program at the MSI site and assist the design team in addressing tsunami and ground shaking seismic hazards.

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Golden Gate Bridge with AEG and IAEG logos

GRI Geologists Presenting at Combined AEG/IAEG Congress

Three GRI geologists are presenting at the combined 61st Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) Annual Meeting and 13th International Association of Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG) Congress. The first-ever combined Congress held in the United States will take place the week of September 15, 2018, in San Francisco, California. George Freitag is presenting a paper written with co-author Chris Ell on the Burma Landslide in southern Oregon. Nora Utevsky is presenting a paper on roadway shoulder soil management, and will serve as chair of a technical session. Greg Martin is presenting a poster on his Master of Science research on the Rocky Ledge Fault in Shasta County, California.

Well done, GRI geology group!

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GRI Collaborates to Inspire Young Female Geoscientists

One of the newest members of the GRI team, Nora Utevsky, GIT, recently volunteered at a 5-day, hands-on geoscience field camp for middle school girls at Mount St. Helens.  In its third year, GeoGirls allows young

Nora explains how to live on the edge!

women to explore the volcanoes in their backyard, the hazards they pose to human population, and the technology scientists use to monitor them.

Nora, a Staff Geologist in GRI’s Beaverton office, has been participating in the program since its inception and relishes the opportunity to give back while sharing her passion for geology with budding female scientists.  This year, she led the GeoGirls through a geologic hazard and city planning game of her own creation, titled “Living on the Edge.”  While playing Living on the Edge, the girls used their knowledge of volcanic hazards to build and maintain a town in the shadow of an active Cascade volcano.

GeoGirls is a free experience for girls, thanks in large part to public funding.  GRI is proud to sponsor and contribute to this exciting program that paves the way for young women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

The GeoGirls website has much more information about the program and how to become a partner or sponsor.

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Learn About Full-Depth Reclamation of Pavement with Lindsi Hammond

Full-Depth Reclamation of Pavement

Full-depth reclamation (FDR) of pavement is an alternative rehabilitation technique that uniformly pulverizes and blends together stabilizing agents with worn-out asphalt concrete pavement and a portion of the underlying materials.  The end result is a sustainable, cost-effective, and green approach to stabilized base course that is ready for a new pavement surface.  Successful FDR projects improve the structural capacity of the pavement and are developed through pre-construction engineering and design.

Presented by Lindsi Hammond, PE

Lindsi will be speaking at the ACEC/ODOT Region 1 Brownbag this Thursday, May 25th at noon.  Lindsi joined GRI’s Beaverton office in August 2015 and has more than nine years of pavement engineering experience.  Her project work includes pavement management, pavement evaluation, and pavement design.  As a project engineer, she is responsible for completing the implementation and update of pavement management systems for airport and roadway systems, backcalulating falling weight deflectometer (FWD) data, and designing pavements using the AASHTO, Asphalt Institute, FAARFIELD, PerRoads, PCASE, and Portland Cement Association methods.

The flyer for the brownbag can be found on ODOT’s website: https://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION1/ACECbrownbags/Brown-Bag-Flyer.pdf

We hope to see you there!

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Engineering Book Drive for Ethiopia

In conjunction with STEM Network, an organization established by Ethiopian scientists and engineers who are working and living in the U.S. and Canada, GRI is collecting engineering textbooks to help support Ethiopian college students.

What We Need

We are collecting gently used (or new) engineering textbooks printed after 1990.  Books should be in good condition and can cover topics such as:

  • General Civil Engineering
  • Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Hydrology
  • Geology
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Fundamentals of Engineering

No Books?  No Problem!

Books can be expensive to ship.  If you can’t bear the thought of parting with any of your books, consider donating to help fund shipping costs.
Please contact us at 503-641-3478 for more information.

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Congratulations Tom!

GRI is very excited to announce that Thomas (Tom) Gayne, a staff engineer for the GRI Vancouver office, passed the Oregon-specific Principles and Practice of Engineering exam in the fall of 2016 and can now add the initials PE after his name!

Tom joined GRI in 2013 with a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Portland State University.  He is now a registered professional engineer with the state of Oregon.  Tom has experience that includes foundation design for bridges and waterfront structures, slope stability evaluations, and infiltration testing.  He has assisted public agencies and private clients with projects involving municipal buildings and maintenance facilities, pavement design, stormwater facilities, and slope stability.  As a staff engineer, he works under the close direction of a project engineer or principal and is responsible for completing subsurface explorations, providing construction observation services, performing laboratory testing of soil and rock, and completing engineering analyses for a variety of projects.

Outside the office, Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children, attending sporting events with friends, and traveling.

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Mike Marshall Is Taking Geologic Reconnaissance to New Heights

Mike recently completed a 5-day rope access course in Bend, Oregon.  Rope access refers to a set of techniques where ropes and specialized hardware are used as the primary means of providing access to GRI engineering geologists for geologic mapping.  His 5-day course prepared him for successful completion of a written exam and field evaluation for Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) Level I certification.  GRI’s rope access technicians descend, ascend, and traverse ropes to access shear rock faces and work while suspended by a harness.  Mike now has the training and certification to safely and effectively access hard-to-reach geological features for close examination.






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See the New Port of Toledo Mobile Lift in Action!

5658 Port of Toledo 03-05-15 (7)The Port of Toledo Boatyard is owned and operated by the Port of Toledo, Oregon.  The Boatyard is located just over 7 miles east of Newport, Oregon, on the Yaquina River and is quickly becoming Oregon’s premier service and repair facility with the addition of a new 660-ton mobile lift.  The new haul-out structure consists of two fixed piers and a concrete approach slab.  As part of a design-build team, GRI worked closely with BergerABAM and Bergerson Construction, Inc., to provide geotechnical consultation and construction observation services for the new haul-out pier.   All driven piles for the project were installed to the estimated depths into the underlying variably weathered rock.

Check out this video of the new mobile lift in action side-by-side with the existing 85-ton lift.

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