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OHPD and members from the Yamhill Carlton School District community gathered to celebrate the completion of YCSD’s new Science and Career Technical Education (CTE) Building. As a part of Yamhill Carlton School District’s Bond Projects, OHPD developed a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) center and gymnasium. The CTE building features a state of the art STEM lab that facilitates progressive teaching methodologies in the service of preparing students to be competitive in the global job market.


We are honored to be among those recognized for building diversity. The Daily Journal of Commerce held its second annual Building Diversity Awards and Education program to honor disadvantaged, minority-owned, women-owned, emerging small business and combat-disabled veteran-owned firms that are certified through the state of Oregon’s COBID program.

Oh planning+design, architecture was one of 15 local firms and organizations celebrated for their efforts to shape the built environment through outstanding work, leadership, mentorships, community involvement and promotion of industry diversity. A feature about our firm was in a recent issue of the DJC, which can be found here.

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Every June, right outside of the Oh planning+design, architecture offices, the Portland Pride Parade rumbles down Northwest Davis Street. This year, roughly 60,000 people donning rainbow colored attire and flags participated in the festivities. At OHPD, we are proud to celebrate diversity, inclusion and community, and we will continue to be a champion of equality. #lovewins

The Daily Journal of Commerce held its 24th annual TopProjects awards Thursday evening at the Oregon Convention Center. Over 40 projects completed in 2017 in Oregon and Southwest Washington were honored.

OHPD took home an honorable mention award for our work on the New Bridge High School in the High Performance Building Award category. This award celebrates design teams that have gone above and beyond to incorporate efficient energy strategies into their projects. New Bridge High School makes use of natural daylighting strategies to reduce heat gain and glare from morning and afternoon sun, employs a louver system to allow fresh air to flow through the building, is built from wood that is sourced from locations promoting sustainable forest management practices, has HVAC systems that use 40% less energy than a typical school, features 68 solar panels that generate approximately 22,236 watts of energy per day (enough to power 55 refrigerators), has low-flow toilets, and throughout the school, building as curriculum learning opportunities are baked into the design so that the students who attend New Bridge High School can learn about the awesome energy efficient solutions that comprise their environment.

Thank you, Oregon Youth Authority, for partnering with us on this amazing project – way to go New Bridge team!

Award  Projector



In March of 2018, four of Oh planning+design, architecture’s staff, including principal Deb France, associates Tim Ayersman and Caitlin McGehee, as well as job captain Colin McNamara, went on a career-altering trip to Finland to research their educational system, which has been recognized as the best in the world.

The purpose of the trip was to learn about the success of the Finnish system, to integrate their pedagogy into future projects, and to reaffirm OHPD’s position as a strong leader in K12 design for the Pacific Northwest.

During the trip, OHPD staff participated in workshops with teachers, students and board members that explored Finland’s national core curriculum and how this produced their world-renowned educational program. The team spent time in small groups with Finnish students and ended their days in round table discussions that analyzed ideal learning spaces. OHPD toured several schools while in Finland, including the Saunalahti and Kirkkojarvi schools, as well as the Sipoo Schools

The trip was revelatory and exciting, and the staff who participated in the adventure brought back a wellspring of knowledge that our firm has shared and discussed in detail. We look forward to imparting our newfound knowledge with our clients! Below are some photos of the spaces we explored.


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We are excited to announce that OHP+D is now on Instagram!

You can find images of some of our favorite projects, company events, design inspiration, and office shenanigans.

Follow us at @ohpd.architecture to keep up.

OHPD’s Act-Oh-vism committee participated in the March for Our Lives protest held in Portland, Oregon as a part of the series of rallies and marches in Washington, D.C. and more than 800 cities across the world. Thousands of Oregonians flooded the streets and gathered at Pioneer Courthouse Square to demand stricter gun control regulations.

OHPD was proud to be a Platinum Sponsor of the 2018 Portland Workforce Alliance Youth Careers Expo in March. It was the fourth year in a row that OHPD staff volunteered at the career fair, which shows students the amazing diversity of career opportunities in the Northwest region. It was a fantastic event with over 7,000 students in attendance! Below are a couple photos from our booth.

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Oh planning+design, architecture is thrilled to be a DJC TopProjects Finalist in 2018. The TopProjects competition showcases the best in new construction and renovations throughout Oregon and Washington.  Congratulations to the Oregon Youth Authority team for pursuing such a fantastic project, and we’re extremely proud of our architects and designers for their excellent work. The link below contains details about the competition and the full list of finalists:

DJC announces 2018 TopProjects finalists

Amid swirling skies and flashes of rainbows, the Yamhill Carlton School District’s Career Technical Education (CTE) dome inflation was a complete success! This is the first of two domes Oh planning+design, architecture, in conjunction with Leland A. Gray Architects, designed for the District. Have a look!

Oh planning+design, architecture is pleased to announce the promotions of (from left to right) Tim Ayersman to senior associate, Andrew Pearson to associate principal, and Caitlin McGehee to associate. We are proud to work with such talented, considerate, and insightful people.

For the fourth year in a row, OHPD is proud to be a part of the KGW Great Toy Drive. The Drive benefits more than 120 nonprofit organizations throughout Oregon and SW Washington. With our donation, and the donations of other charitable organizations, KGW is able to serve families in need. Click Here for information on how you can get involved and a full list of nonprofit organizations who receive gifts to distribute to families.

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The quality of our lives depend on the quality of our environment. OHPD’s mission seeks to optimize our built environment to boost and augment the health and comfort of all of earth’s inhabitants. The mission of environmental conservation and restoration is this undertaking but on a global scale. With the understanding that we are an integral part of a whole – where we cannot exist without the whole thriving in diversity and vibrancy – we must act with the responsibility of the generations to come.

Advances and discoveries in technology will enable the world to move beyond the volatile nature of the economy and social structure. Rapidly falling prices in the solar market, across the globe and at home, have given potential to be aggressively competitive with the disastrous and divisive fossil fuel industry. Wind is seeing its heyday now more than ever, recently celebrating the employment of more people than coal, according to the 2017 US Energy and Employment Report from the US Department of Energy. February 2017 also saw Wind graduate to the fourth largest source of US energy behind coal, nuclear and natural gas. Wind also has more generating capacity at 82 gigawatts than hydropower at 80 GW making it the number one renewable energy source in the US. Tom Keirnan, the CEO of American Wind Energy Association, says “American wind power is on track to double our output over the next five years, and supply 10% of US electricity by 2020.”

The US solar market already employs more people in electric generation than oil, coal, and gas combined. Solar is the leader in electricity generation jobs with over 370 thousand jobs, or 43% of all jobs in electric generation and counting. While existing renewable technology is becoming more efficient and competitive in price there are other new developments on the horizon.  New discoveries in methods of electricity storage and generation are truly out of this world. Researchers at Harvard are developing non-toxic, noncorrosive aqueous solution batteries that can last decades. LightSail Energy has invented a battery that uses air compression and heat storage for ultra clean on demand kinetic energy. Perhaps the most revolutionary battery invention in the works is by those at the University of Bristol, which can help convert and clean up nuclear waste. The new technology can produce carbon -14 diamond batteries made from spent nuclear fuel and waste. The near harmless form of radioactive carbon can then power devices like any old AA or AAA battery, with more sparkles of course.

Energy generation technology is also seeing a renaissance. The secrets of Nikola Tesla are being rediscovered with concurrent development of electromagnetic generators. The ideal EM generator can employ the full electromagnetic spectrum rather than just visible light like solar panels do. Some innovations like the one made by Infinity Sav Team work similarly to a perpetual motion machine that continuously outputs net positive energy once started. Another type of generator is motionless and pulls energy from the ether.

Even with multinational corporation money lining the pockets of our new government, there is no stopping the green tide of clean energy and the revolution of well-being. Business as usual will not last. The People have woken up to the inequities and injustices that have gone hand in hand with the destruction of our environment, our cultures, and in many cases our homes. Just remember, there is a bright future at the end of this dark­­ tunnel. Can you see it too?

Devin Graham

On Valentine’s Day in Manhattan, amid the already bright lights of Times Square, a 10-foot-tall glowing heart sculpture consisting of 400 transparent, LED lit, acrylic tubes curiously sits. The transparent tubes refract the lights of Times Square, creating a cluster of lights around the heart. The hovering heart appears to pulsate as its tubes sway in the wind. When people touch one of the heart-shaped sensors, the heart glows brighter and beats faster as the energy from their hands is converted into more light.

Over the last nine years, the Times Square Alliance has invited architecture and design firms to submit proposals for a romantic public art installation celebrating Valentine’s Day. This installation, entitled “BIG LOVES NYC” and made by the Bjarke Ingels Group, neatly exemplifies the cross-section where science and art meet.

Today in K-12 education, there is an ongoing debate as to whether the sciences and arts should be meeting at all. At the heart of this conversation are STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and STEAM (the inclusion of art + design) learner spaces. STEM instruction allows students to be involved in collaborative workshops that apply science and math to engineering design processes to creatively problem solve real-world scenarios. While this is an excellent pedagogical practice, the exclusion of art in these processes should not be glossed over.

In response to the omission of art in the ever-popular STEM programs, John Maeda from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) founded STEM to STEAM. STEM to STEAM’s primary focus is to include art into the core subjects of technology, engineering and math. What started out as a single school initiative at RISD, quickly gained alliances from some of the most prestigious institutions in America: Brown, MIT, Yale, Rutgers University, Boston University, the University of Michigan, the New School and Harvard. This coalition of schools started a student-led effort to ignite communications between disparate fields in academia, business and thought. Since 2013, they’ve been creating catalogues that describe the types of experiments and projects that each of these universities have undertaken in the service of promoting interdisciplinary participation.

Regrettably, art and design programs in public schools are oftentimes the first to be scaled back or cut, and the time art educators get to spend with students continues to decline. Incorporating art into the other core classes is important for K-12 students from both a personal and professional standpoint. Art and design classrooms are places that promote collaborative learning while giving students a platform for open-ended problem solving, personal expression and reflection. This helps students develop a more complete sense of self, and allows them to articulate something meaningful about our visual culture. From a professional standpoint, the kind of critical thinking skills that are inspired by art and design classes have been proven time and time again to improve scores in math, science, and reading.

Art and science, though different in their intended outcomes, use similar processes to achieve their goals. Art, like engineering, is concerned with finding answers to problems and seeking visual solutions using the design process. The “BIG LOVES NYC” sculpture could not have been made without artists and engineers (and engineers as artists) working together collaboratively to create solutions. There is a lot to be learned from all the similarities and differences in the fields under the STEAM umbrella, and I believe that when they are combined, a more accurate reflection of real-world project deliveries and working relationships are reflected with this instruction.

Jeff Lane

A response to Portland’s air quality and ways to get involved

There is a buzz in the air. This year Portland residents have been made aware of dangerous levels of air pollution in a few east side hotspots, including Arsenic, Cadmium, Nickel, and Chromium. Who knew that a US Forest Service study of urban tree moss could be so enlightening? It has even sparked community movement groups like the Eastside Portland Air Coalition or the South Portland Air Quality Group to champion the improvement of Portland’s air quality and push to better regulate heavy metal pollutants. 2016 is also a landmark year for air quality revelation with the American Lung Association’s 2016 State of the Air Report. A three year comprehensive study of ozone levels and particle pollution, the State of the Air gives us an idea which cities have the healthiest or unhealthiest air.

On the whole, the report shows that national and local efforts to clean up pollution are working, with some places doing better than others. Despite this outcome, key findings state that more than half of Americans, roughly 166 million of us, live in counties with unhealthful levels of ozone and particulates.  Regulators are taking note of these results. In late 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened the ozone air quality standard. The Air Quality Index – a number that forecasts how polluted the air is and could become – has been adjusted to reflect the more protective ozone standard.  You can visit Air Now to find out the daily AQI forecast for your area.

We all need the air. No matter where you go on earth we all use it the same. It is important to treat this resource with a special care and consideration, even if it is not always something we can see. The easiest and most effective way to save our air is to save and conserve energy. Electricity generation is the highest contributor of harmful compounds in our atmosphere. There are many other ways you can help our air. Here are some of my favorites: drive less and walk or bike to travel, plant a tree, use cold water instead of hot water, use a fan instead of AC, avoid products using aerosol, garden organically, weatherize and insulate your home, use products with less packaging, reduce, reuse, and recycle!

The winds of change are stirring and you can be a new breath of fresh air. Commit to take a daily walk, plant two trees this year, or tune up your car. It’s the little things that add up to the most benefit in reducing harmful emissions, saving energy, and the great blue sky. You can follow the quality of our local environment, file a complaint or report a spill with Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), whose mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining, and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land, and water. Together, we can all strive to do the same.


Devin Graham


Our responsibility to preserve nature’s heritage when designing the cities of the future

“Looking at the stars always makes me dream. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? Just as we take the train to get to Tarascon or Rouen, we take death to reach a star.”

125 years ago, a half-mad dreamer gazed through the bars of his asylum window, transfixed on the night sky. The beauty that lay before him inspired one of the most distinguished paintings of the 20th century. In 1889, the Saint-Rémy-de-Provence sky was the muse for Vincent Van Gogh’s, “The Starry Night,” based on the French countryside which was, then, littered with the effervescence of infinite night stars.

But what if Van Gogh was born today? The turn of the century lead to an age where high-rises illuminate our horizons and streetlights and storefront neons brighten our sidewalks at night. Cities like New York and Paris can be seen for miles and miles due to their sprawling luminous glow and busy nightlife. But while the cities radiate in their own concrete beauty, the natural night sky is compromised. Our 21st century manufactured light outshines the all the stars in our solar system, and we’re left with a pollution that engulfs the sky in a misty haze.

Due to the brightening of the night sky, caused by street lights and other man-made sources, Saint-Rémy has become a victim to what has been coined as light pollution, and it is one of the worst situations in France today. Not only has the natural heritage of this site been diminished, but light pollution all over the world has lead to negative effects on nocturnal wildlife and ecosystems, and even negative effects on human health and circadian rhythms. Nearly one-fifth of the world is no longer capable of seeing the Milky Way, and in North America alone, 80% of the population looks up, incapable of seeing the dazzling spectacle that is our home galaxy.

Is there a way we can turn back the clock on our world without forgoing our modern conveniences and technological advancements?

As architects and designers, we have the privilege to evolve our built environment. Outdoor Lighting Ordinances are now included in citywide municipal codes, and groups such as the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) assist in developing best practices and identifying effective outdoor fixtures. One development of the IDA and IES was the creation of a specification classification rating system for outdoor fixtures, known as BUG – backlight-uplight-glare. This BUG rating system was originally created in 2005 to control stray light from exterior roadway luminaires, but has since been used in categorizing all outdoor lighting applications. A fixture’s BUG rating is determined by identifying its light stray, which can be manipulated through physical properties such as shielding and reflectors. The BUG rating is placed on product specification sheets, allowing designers to easily identify and compare light fixtures during the design process.

The U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) offers credits on LEED projects through their Sustainable Sites category, giving points for Light Pollution Reduction. With more and more buildings aiming for Platinum and Gold certification, there are design opportunities to increase night sky access, improve nighttime visibility, and reduce the consequences of development for wildlife and people. Aside from specifying light fixtures with an appropriate BUG rating, designers can contribute to the Light Pollution Reduction credit by providing a photometric light distribution layout – a computer generated representation of light levels on a given surface using product-specific lighting files. Designers can also meet the internal illuminated signage requirement for LEED projects, or classify the project in the appropriate lighting zone category defined by IES/IDA.

Brightness level standards have been created to regulate light output, and technologies like light and motion sensors are utilized to activate exterior lighting only when needed. This has been made even more effective through light emitting diode (LED) technology. LEDs are changing the way we think and use light – they are energy efficient, can dim with ease, typically remain cool (unlike incandescent bulbs, which eat up from the filaments), and can be color-tuned to the appropriate kelvin temperature. Knowing if a light fixture is “warm” or “cool” is important knowledge for designers and specifiers – blue, “cool” light coming from the higher end of the kelvin temperature chart (> 4000k) could increase glare and worsen skyglow through the color’s larger geographical reach.

All efforts are in hope to reduce light trespass, glare, and skyglow, ultimately re-darkening the night sky. While these are small steps, we, as designers, influencers, and inventors, take them in hope that the natural environment can return to its natural heritage, allowing the dreamers of tomorrow to extend their gaze upward and be inspired by the unobstructed, infinite cosmos.

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”

Samantha Aleo

Using digital technologies to experience the true nature of space, before it has even become a reality.

One of the newest and potentially most useful tools to come into play within the field of Architecture is Virtual Reality, or VR. If the move from 2D hand drafting to computer-aided drafting was swift, the embrace of 3D computer modeling, with its acrobatic, revolving images that allow a view from every angle, has been even faster. The next logical advance will be from 3D modeling onto a new platform that provides yet another level of interaction. Virtual reality is anticipated to be this platform, allowing the viewer to experience the illusion of being present within the digital model and to encounter directly all aspects of the design. You are (seemingly) there!

Different types of virtual reality technology currently exist, providing different levels of immersion between the physical and computer-generated worlds. But in short, virtual reality goggles provide a window into a 3D virtual space, allowing the viewer a full spherical view from a single point. These goggles can be part of a full headset kit with hand controllers and room sensors. Virtual reality kits create the full immersion virtual world, a place where the viewer can interact with the digital model as if in the physical world, and see, first hand, the beauty, strengths, and flaws of the design.

Regardless of the kind of virtual reality used, the benefits to the architect and client are immense. Integrating the project’s 3D model with virtual reality allows near instant feedback of data and visuals, cutting down the time to produce, meet, and discuss the issues at every change. For the first time, building scale, materials, and color can be shown and experienced the way they were meant to be. And with the addition of ambient noise and daylighting, a near perfect representation of a space is created, enjoyable from the comfort of your chair.

Dane Teegardin

Summer is when the hot asphalt hits the sun bathed coverboards of school rooftops throughout Portland.

While the students and the northwest rain are gone, the summer improvement work must go on. It is at these times when the architect’s design, documents, response time, and problem solving skills are truly put to the test. The schedule can’t budge and neither will the budget, so team work, experience, and knowledge will be the way to project success. The deadline for completing the work is the day the returning students know all too well, the dreaded first day of school.

For the second consecutive summer, Oh planning+design, architecture led the charge to upgrade and maintain the neighborhood pillars of Portland’s architectural heritage represented in the massive network of Portland Public School buildings. For summer improvement projects 2015 (IP15), we were tasked with the design from concept to construction documents followed up by construction administration on the eight IP15 schools scattered throughout the district. An eight-month assessment and design process culminates into a three-month construction schedule that must result in success. Elevators at Ainsworth and Woodlawn. Roofing and seismic upgrades at Buckman, Clark Creative Science, Hayhurst, Sabin, Ainsworth, and Stephenson. Seismic upgrades at Llewellyn and many of the others. Science classrooms at Clark Creative Science, Hayhurst, and Sabin. Not to mention ADA upgrades and fire alarm projects scattered throughout. Although the elevator projects continue through the fall, a renewed school is back in session as the summer in the sun is gone and young minds return for a new year.

Bryan Thompson

Working on recent school upgrade projects, we have encountered a number of historic buildings that originally had wood windows. While most of the original windows have been replaced in these buildings, a handful of the original windows survive. At 80 to 100 years old, most of these windows suffer from years of deferred maintenance. A recent project to assess and recommend repairs for wood windows at two schools shed new light on the possibility of restoring decayed wood windows in historic schools. Our partners in these assessments were historic preservation architect Maya Foty at Architectural Resources Group and wood window expert Amy McAuley at Oculus Fine Carpentry.

The two schools we examined have very different characters. The first is a 1920s-era building with double-hung windows, while the second is a modern building from the 1950s with window walls stretching nearly the full width of each classroom. We were intrigued to learn that these large window assemblies are composed of early Anderson Flexivent wood windows, a new product at the time the building was constructed. We found that these windows are in fair to good condition and can be restored mostly with simple wood repairs and repainting.

The windows in the 1920s school building appear to be in a much more advanced state of decay. However, closer examination demonstrated that the basic window structures are sound, and the worst damage can be repaired with a combination of wood infill repairs and use of epoxy fillers and consolidants. The assessment confirmed that window restoration is a feasible alternative to complete window replacement. The eleven windows to be restored surround the front entrance to the school and are the only original windows remaining on the front façade. We look forward to seeing these historic windows come back to life to greet the school’s occupants for decades to come.

Andrew Pearson, Associate

I have worked on school projects for over twenty years and I still find it fascinating that many architects are timid with their use of color.

This may be a result of the strong emotion that color can produce. I have yet to design a project where the owner didn’t ban a specific color from the project, often for personal and emotional reasons. It is not possible to please everyone, and trying to avoid this color conflict and by painting everything white can do more harm than good. Why? Under less than optimal lighting conditions, the glare from white walls can cause measurable eye strain.

There is extensive research on the use of color showing that light blues and purples have a calming effect, while bold red colors can provide a huge distraction and increase heart rates, especially with younger students. So what is the right answer? Should every classroom be blue? That seems restrictive and very boring. The answer is, there isn’t a right or wrong color.

A few years ago my wife and I decided it was time to paint the exterior of our house. We reviewed many color options and finally agreed on one. We both love the color to this day, however, if you ask us what we selected, she will say green and I would say brown.

I came to the understanding after that experience that it is the individual perception of color that will always be different and thus you will never find the perfect color for everyone. The good news is that there are new studies that suggest the effect of colors are only temporary and after time within a particular space, their effect, whether originally soothing or agitating, diminishes. So dare to use color. If you love it, someone else will too!

Tim Ayersman, Associate

It is with great joy that we launch this new web site and celebrate entering our thirteenth year in business.

The past twelve years have brought forth many rewards and some interesting challenges.  We saw the hardest time in my 27 year career in 2009 when the economy took a plunge.  We struggled and found that our professional friendships and dedicated clients were vital to our ability to survive.  Since then we have seen growth in both our firm size and in project opportunities.  We remain devoted to our mission of reducing the impact of the built environment on the planet so that humanity can live in balance with nature.  We place the highest emphasis on our core values of sustainability, respect, quality service and diversity.

The greatest reward that we receive is in the strong relationships we form.  These relationships with the great people who represent our clients as well as the talented consultants and architects on our team all work together to provide something special for our community, families, and for environmental and social equity.  Each day we make a difference in the lives of those around us.  We take that responsibility very seriously and we love being able to be a part of this fabric in our community.

If you are visiting our site because you are exploring the profession then please be encouraged that you will also be a part of something very special.  If you are visiting our site because you are with another firm then we embrace you as part of our family.  If you are visiting our site because you are looking for our capabilities then we hope you enjoy what we have to share.  It is impossible to define in a web site the uniqueness that is OH – because it is truly about the people.  We offer you Optimism and Health and a vision that comes to reality.

Deb France, Principal