American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon

USACE Liaison

ACEC Oregon/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Liaison Committee

OBJECTIVE: To provide members with the opportunity to improve working relationships with agency personnel. Each liaison committee has its own agenda, but communications and problem-solving are primary concerns.

Meetings are held quarterly, generally on the second Tuesday from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.


May 9, 2023  
Willamette Falls Locks Seismic & Safety Upgrades 
Jeffrey Hicks, Project Manager
Planning, Programs & Project Management Division 
USACE Portland District

Mr. Hicks will be presenting the Willamette Falls Locks (WFL) Project, which is a major undertaking that will have a significant impact on the region. His extensive knowledge and experience in project management, combined with his passion for engineering and construction, helped drive District Execution and Award of WFL. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Willamette Falls Locks Project and is well-positioned to ensure its successful completion.”

August 8, 2023
I-5 Trunnion Shaft Replacement
Kevin Bracy, PMP, Vice President | Sr. Transportation Project Manager
David Evans and Associates, Inc. 

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February 14, 2023 (hybrid: in-person and virtual via WebEx) )
Walla Walla River Forks Restoration 
Jason Scott, CFP, Senior Fisheries Biologist, GeoEngineers
Becca Miller, PE, Water Resources Engineer, GeoEngineers

OVERVIEW: The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation has spent more than two decades systematically restoring aquatic habitat throughout the Walla Walla River watershed, and GeoEngineers helped them complete one of their largest and most complex efforts to date, the Walla Walla River Forks Project. The project focused on enhancing river habitat and floodplain connectivity near the confluence of the North and South Fork Walla Walla Rivers, where artificial changes to the watershed threatened fish populations and required annual push-up dam maintenance.

To restore natural processes and improve the reliability of water delivery, the GeoEngineers river science team first had to understand the complex river system. They used field data, historical records, and even local anecdotes to model the river’s behavior and then design a sustainable and naturally evolving reach. The team removed an 800-foot confining levee that separated the river from its historical floodplain and designed more than 2,200 linear feet of new side channels, complete with habitat-enhancing features like engineered log jams and riparian vegetation.


November 8, 2022 (hybrid: in-person and virtual via WebEx) 
Atmospheric Rivers 101
Dr. Andy Martin, Reservoir Regulation and Water Quality Section, Hydrology and Hydraulics Branch, USACE Portland District
OVERVIEW: Water managers in the Western US are aware of Atmospheric Rivers (ARs) as the largest drivers of flood, and Atmospheric River forecasts inherently impact water management operations. While weather forecasters have developed many observational and modeling techniques to better predict atmospheric rivers and their impacts, these techniques have not widely been incorporated into water management operational decision making. This lesson will equip water managers in USACE with the basic understanding of AR science, observational and forecasting tools that will allow managers to assess potential for AR rain, snow and flooding; qualitatively assess uncertainty in traditional precipitation and streamflow forecasts; and make better informed decisions in water management operations.

August 9, 2022 (virtual WebEx
Seismic Design and Construction for the OSU Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building
Scott Schlechter, PE, GE, D.PE, Principal, GRI
PROGRAM ABSTRACT: The Oregon State University (OSU) Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building is part of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. The need for this research facility to be located at the Hatfield campus on the coast challenged the design team to provide a structure that could be feasibly built within a tsunami inundation zone. Considering the geological risks inherent at the site, OSU established an aggressive set of design goals that included engineering the facility to remain operational during and after a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and the corresponding tsunami. The building was also planned as a vertical evacuation refuge for mobility-challenged occupants in lieu of the established horizontal evacuation route utilized as part of the City of Newport’s emergency preparedness plan. This building is one of the few structures designed for tsunami risks and the first to use the recently adopted Tsunami Provisions contained in the American Society of Civil Engineer’s (ASCE) Standard 7-16. The innovative design for this LEED Silver structure involves supporting the new structure on Deep Soil Mixing. In 2021, the project received ACEC Oregon's Project of the Year Award and the ACEC National Grand Award.


May 10, 2022 (virtual meeting via WebEx)
Mt. St. Helens Sediment Retention Structure, Second Spillway Raise
Jeremy Appt, PE, Chief; Geotechnical, Civil and Environmental Section
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District 

March 1, 2022 (virtual meeting via WebEx) 
Steigerwald Wetland Restoration  
- Curtis Loeb, P.E., Principal Engineer, Wolf Water Resources
- Wade Osborne, P.E., Senior Associate Engineer, Cornforth Consultants

PROGRAM ABSTRACT  The Steigerwald Floodplain Reconnection Project was a collaborative effort across over a dozen federal, state, and local agencies to reconfigure the Columbia River levee system to reduce flood risk, reconnect 965 acres of floodplain, and increase recreation opportunities at Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge located in Washougal, Washington. The project removed 2.2 miles of federally-authorized (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) levee, excavation of four large floodplain channels, and creation of 115 acres of new wetland habitat. To reduce flood risks for residents and infrastructure, floodplain reconnection required the design and construction of two new setback levees, 500 feet of new floodwall along Gibbons Creek, and raising a section of Washington State Route 14. Wolf Water Resources and Cornforth Consultants have partnered since early design in 2014 to the end of construction in 2022, overcoming numerous significant technical challenges along the way. The presentation will discuss these technical challenges and also highlight the numerous project benefits for fish and wildlife, for adjacent property owners, for the Refuge land manager, and for the levee system operator.  

November 9, 2021 (virtual meeting via WebEx)
Portland Metro Levy System 
Ryan Cahill, PE, Hydraulic Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Portland District 

SUMMARY  In 2018, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated a Feasibility Study focusing on Flood Risk Management of the Portland Metro Levee System in partnership with the Columbia Corridor Drainage Districts (CCDD) Joint Contracting Authority. The study area includes 27 miles of levees along the lower Columbia River within the Portland Metropolitan Area, running from Smith Lake to the Sandy River. The federal feasibility study process leads to a recommendation to Congress for federal investment in addressing the problem areas in the levees and drainage system. The three-year federal feasibility study process is now complete, culminating in the Chief of Engineers signing the Chief’s Report on August 20, 2021. This presentation will give a brief history of the feasibility study process and provide an overview of the recommended plan.

August 10, 2021 (virtual meeting via WebEx)
Astoria Waterfront Bridge Replacements
Jeff Parker, PE, Senior Project Manager, DOWL

  • Executive summary
  • The one thing you should know about this project is that it is a modern feat of successful engineering. It combines 200 years of history, six brand-new bridges, two accelerated construction seasons, and a handful of public agencies, into one complex project that will keep Astoria’s historic waterfront, and its signature trolley car, running smoothly for decades to come.

May 11, 2021 (virtual meeting via WebEx)
Fall Creek Pipe Lining 
Daniel Carlson, PE, FPE, Mechanical Technical Lead, CENWP-ENC-DM, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

February 9, 2021 (virtual) 
Willamette Falls Fishway Thermal Action Mitigation Project 
Erik Peterson, PE, Peterson Structural Engineers

  • Executive Summary
  • The one thing you should know: Thermal forces are unyielding and powerful and should never be overlooked in design. 

November 10, 2020 (virtual)
Spirit Lake, UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) Reconnaissance 
Jason Miller, Geographer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

May 5, 2020 (virtual)
Washington Park Reservoirs: History and Modernization
Tom Westover and Andy Kost, Cornforth Consultants, Inc. 

February 25, 2020
Emergency Repair of the Bonneville Navigation Lock Downstream Sill Block (2019) 
Matthew Hanson, Supervisory Structural Engineer; and Joel Prusi, Structural Engineer; Structural Design Section, Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

November 12, 2019
Monitoring and Modeling of Harmful Algal Blooms
Paul Worrlein, Water Resources Engineer, Lead for "Dams, Levees, and Civil Works" projects for HDR, Portland

August 13, 2019
John Day Turbine Replacement and Generator Rehabilitation Project (John Day TRGR)
Curtis L. Lipski, Electrical Engineer, Technical Lead, Engineering and Construction Division, US Army Corps of Engineers - Portland District

May 14, 2019
Sandy River Log Jams:
Structure and Process in a Dynamic River System

Mike "Rocky" Hrachovec, PC, Principal Engineer, Natural Systems Design
Rowyn Cooper-Caroselli, EIT, CFM, Engineer in Training, Wolf Water Resources 

  • Executive summary
  • The one thing you should remember about this project is that, although it engages over 200 feet of the channel’s cross-section and reaches 22 feet below its bed, it represents merely a humble nudge of encouragement to this powerful river.

February 12, 2019
MCR Pile Dykes: Maintaining an Inlet with Sticks and Stones
Austin Hudson, Coastal Engineer, CENWP-ENC-HD, USACE

November 13, 2018
Evaluating Unpermitted Encroachments in Levee Systems
Kevin Severson, P.E., Project Engineer, Cornforth Consultants
Colin Rowan, Levee Ready Columbia Program Director, Multnomah County Drainage District

August 14, 2018
Cougar Dam Downstream Fish Passage
Erica Tarbox, P.E., Technical Lead, Structural and Architectural Design Section, Portland District, USACE

May 8, 2018
Levee safety: Not Snow, Not Rain, nor Beer at Night
Juan Sorensen and Mahendra Shewalla, AECOM
They talked about their efforts completing levee inspections for the USACE Levee Safety Program. 

February 13, 2018
The Dalles Auxiliary Water Supply Project
Pat Duyck, USACE

November 14, 2017
Oroville Dam Response
Dan Osmun, HDR

August 15, 2017
Mud Mountain Dam Adult Fish Collection Barrier
Kristy Fortuny and Lori Ebner, USACE

May 16, 2017
Extremely Extreme, Rainfall on the West Coast
David Curtis, WEST Consultants

February 14, 2017
Portland District Future Workload
Lance Helwig, USACE

October 18, 2016
Port of Newport Terminal Renovation
Scott Schlecter, GRI

Executive summary 

July 19, 2016
Spirit Lake Tunnel Rehab
Jeremy Britton, USACE

April 19, 2016
Fargo Moorhead Diversion Project
Mark Anderson, CH2M

January 19, 2016
Steamboat Slough Levee Rehab
Jeremy Britton, USACE

ACEC Oregon + Corps of Engineers renew
partnering charter

Pictured at right, Jason McBain of the USACE Portland District signs the ACEC Oregon/ USACE Portland District Partnering Charter at their July 15 (2015) meeting.

The mission statement reads, in part, “...through this charter, commit to a meaningful partnership between our organizations in the common purpose to provide quality and responsive engineering and consulting services to the nation and the world.” 
Goals and objectives of the partnering charter are:

  • Ensure a cooperative dialogue between the USACE and ACEC Oregon at all levels.
  • Clarify and understand the changing roles of USACE and the private sector.
  • Foster an attitude that explores opportunities and resolves issues.
  • Enhance professionalism and integrity throughout the design and construction industry.
  • Promote quality and value through improved business practices.
  • Invest in the future by promoting new technology, continuing education, and research and development.
  • Promote qualifications-based selection procurement of A/E services.
  • Promote the use of project delivery methods that best serve the public interest.
  • Support a healthy USACE and a strong U.S. engineering industry.
  • Collaborate to expand U.S. business opportunities in the global marketplace.

Chair alternates every year between the Corps and
ACEC Oregon; one-year term begins January 1.

2023 CHAIR
Smart Ocholi
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

Gerry Heslin
Consultants, Inc. 

2022 CHAIR
Gerry Heslin
Consultants, Inc.

2021 CHAIR
Smart Ocholi
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2020 CHAIR
Paul Woerrlein

2019 CHAIR
Smart Ocholi
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2018 CHAIR
Chris Goodell
Kleinschmidt Associates

2017 CHAIR
Liza Wells
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2016 CHAIR
Shane Cline

2015 CHAIR
Bob Hoffman
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2014 CHAIR
Greg Reid
Streamline West Engineering

2013 CHAIR
Mark Sawka
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2012 CHAIR
Jon Dasler
David Evans and
Associates, Inc.

2011 CHAIR
Jeff Sedey
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2010 CHAIR
Curt Bagnall
CH2M Hill

2009 CHAIR
Lance Helwig
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2008 CHAIR
Kim Marcus
URS Corporation

2007 CHAIR
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2006 CHAIR
Andy Vessely
Consultants, Inc. 

2005 CHAIR
Bob Bucholz 
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2004 CHAIR
Andy Vessely
Consultants, Inc. 

2003 CHAIR
Ron Mason
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2002 CHAIR
Cynthia Lowe
Parson Brinckerhoff

2001 CHAIR
Dale Mazar
U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers

2000 CHAIR
Dick Crim
CH2M Hill