Civil/Structural Engineering, Vashon, Washington, USA 206-463-5311

Special Projects

Designing the structural support of a large rotating 30' tall caterpillar seems a little unusual for a structural engineer, however that is what the Vashon Island office of Stageworks Productions asked us to do.  The caterpillar was to be shown at EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) New York 2014, then travel to Las Vegas for other events. In one week, we worked with the designer/fabricator to engineer the hidden supporting structure which was later covered with caterpillar foam, paint and lights.

·         A  project outside Leavenworth, WA, a previously closed lumber mill, is being re-purposed as a new manufacturing facility.

- LLongview Fiber Mill closed in 2006 – Winton, WA, about 11 miles west of Leavenworth, off Rte 2.
- A factory is moving to the area from Oregon.
- We’re doing feasibility study to install overhead cranes in existing buildings, then providing permit drawings and calculations.

Located on Maury Island, this special retaining wall system serves a dual purpose.  First it protects the road, utilities and house above from further sliding due to toe erosion by wave action.  Second it provides sand nourishment to the beach by weeping action of the sands through the lagging at tide changes.  The property owners must refill this bin approximately every three years.

This is a concrete debris wall, designed for two purposes: it stabilizes the toe of the slope and it has "freeboard" behind the wall to catch and contain the slide debris that might result from a surface slough slide.

This is a tied-back Shoreguard wall.  Shoreguard is an interlocking PVC sheetpile.  This wall stabilizes a sandy bank below a Maury Island house.  The wall is supported at two levels with wood walers, anchored to the hill with Chance anchors.
Located on the north end of Vashon Island, this Ecology Block debris wall's main purpose is to catch and contain slide debris from the steep hill above, and prevent the slide from continuing across the road and damaging the waterfront homes.

Despite it's simplistic appearance, this West Seattle retaining wall is very unique.  This wall does more than stabilize the bank below the house; it actually holds the hill up!  The reinforced concrete columns support steel tube lagging.  The anchors are IBO rods: drilled and epoxy-grouted steel anchors, extending approximately 40 feet into the hill.  Each anchor was proof-tested, then "tied-off" at 70% of full load capacity, so the wall is pulled into the hill.  One might say that this wall functions as a "bra" for the hill behind it.


Here's an interesting story:  I was at this site, inspecting the newly-installed wall with the client (a woman in her early 70's) at the time of the 2001 Nisqually earthquake struck.  We were both standing very near one of the column supports (second picture).  The conversation went something like this: "Will the wall hold? - Yes!  What should we do? - Hold on to the wall!"  In her area, the shaking went on for 30 - 45 seconds.  Scary - yes.  But the wall performed beautifully.  It's seldom that I get to prove to the client that I've designed her structure well.

In my undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, I specialized in dynamics and vibrations, taking every course offered in both the civil and mechanical engineering departments.  During my 10 years at Boeing, I gained further experience in special dynamic structural challenges.  One of my specialties was designing vibration-isolated foundations to support dynamically-sensitive equipment.


This machine is a large press to produce metal parts for snowshoe bindings.  The challenges were many: the company is located in south Seattle on poor fill soils subject to liquefactions, the water table is seasonally high, their factory has very limited space, and there is another vibrations-sensitive machine located nearby in the same factory bay.  The picture shows the spcial foundation after completion.

This project resulted from a team effort with Jim Doolittle, PE of Geospectrum Consultants, Inc. and our comapnies' self-funded research.  The bulkhead is a layered filter fabric wall. The backfilled soil is fill soil consistent with the area soils, but mixed with a small amount of cement to bind the soil and simulate the strength of the area's glacially-compacted soils.  The design goal is for the wall to last between 15-25 years.  The filter fabric will eventually break down due to sun and salt exposure, and the bulkhead will provide beach nourishment for a fish friendly habitat as it deteriorates.

This is a fish-spotting tower for the Colville Indian Reservation.  They are conducting research testing different types of weir systems and how salmon respond to the designs.  This is a temporary tower that may be in place for up to 3 years.