Mackenzie Inc. and O’Brien are teaming up to tackle a big Design-Build housing project in Newport for Oregon State University (OSU). This new 77-unit building provides homes for students and professionals connected to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and helps to ease Newport’s housing crunch while expanding OSU’s coastal campus facilities.

Situated conveniently close to the Marine Science Center on Yaquina Bay, this housing spot is prime coastal real estate. But before construction could start, O’Brien’s team had to clear some existing small and scrubby trees from the site. It wasn’t smooth sailing though. Local mills didn’t want the trees because they thought they weren’t worth much and didn’t have the capacity to process them.

O’Brien’s team got resourceful and partnered with a habitat restoration company, Integrated Resource Management (IRC), and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) through MidCoast Watersheds Council’s (MCWC) salvage log program. The team carefully coordinated with IRC and ODF for the tree removal process, providing over 120 trees – roots and all – from the OSU housing project site for sustainable reuse. The trees were sent to a nearby creek restoration project run by MCWC, which is a win for both the environment and the community.

MCWC has been doing this kind of restoration work for a long time – over 20 years, in fact. Their projects have used salvaged logs to spruce up streams, tidal channels, and floodplains, making life better for all sorts of species. These logs aren’t just wood; they’re homes for fish, helpers with flood control, and champions for healthy ecosystems. MCWC is always looking for like-minded volunteers and as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, donations to its efforts are tax deductible. With creative teamwork and a focus on sustainability, they’re making a difference in the Mid Coast watersheds.

And with projects like this new housing development at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, it’s clear that taking care of the planet is a top priority for O’Brien’s team. Here’s to literally building a greener future! 🌍🏠

Shoutout to the project team! Dave Deardorff is the Project Manager, Meysha Lovrien of Lucas Design Build is the Assistant Project Manager, and Tony Gaines is the Superintendent. This is a collaboration effort between O’Brien and Lucas Design Build, which combined is called O’Brien Lucas Ventures.


Earth Month is a vibrant celebration of sustainability and environmental stewardship, with communities coming together for events like tree plantings, beach cleanups, and educational workshops. Throughout April, we highlight projects and activities that protect the region’s diverse ecosystems, promoting a greener and more sustainable future for generations to come.

NATURE’S HIDDEN GEMS

With five offices throughout Oregon, opportunities abound for O’Brien’s team members to get outside and enjoy all that the region has to offer for recreational activities. To celebrate Earth Month, we asked a team member from each region in which we have offices to share their personal “hidden gem” so that others can discover and explore Oregon’s natural beauty.

Central Oregon

“I love, love waterfalls in the spring–especially in Central Oregon. This time of the year, the snow is melting and the waterfalls get huge and have a lot of water volume coming over the edge. A couple of local favorites are Tumalo Falls and Benham Falls. But one that I love and have been going to since I was a kid with my parents is Sahalie Falls. It’s a gem in between Bend and Springfield off the Mackenzie Hwy and is absolutely amazing this time of the year. I definitely recommend a good waterfall!” Leonard Jarvis, Assistant Project Manager.

Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls are located along the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass and West Cascades National Scenic Byways off Highway 126. The Waterfalls Loop Trail, part of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail, connects the two waterfalls and offers up close views of the wild McKenzie River. Sahalie Falls is a mass of foaming white water plunging 100 feet (30 m) over a natural lava dam. This famous falls can be spotted in Disney’s movie Homeward Bound.

Portland Metro

“Big fan of Dog Mountain in the Spring! A little more challenging of a hike but there are wildflower fields near the top that are beautiful.” Alex Noble, Project Manager

Located East of Stevenson, Carson, and Home Valley, WA; West of White Salmon, WA, and across the river from Cascade Locks, OR, Dog Mountain Day Use Area and Trailhead is the access point for two of the most scenic trails in the Gorge, Dog Mountain Trail #147 and Augspurger Trail #4407. These two trails form a popular loop hike, if you connect via the 1.5 mile Dog-Augspurger Tie Trail.

The area is most popular for its spring-blooming yellow balsamroot meadows, which occur at its upper meadows. Look for other wildflowers, such as white phantom orchids, Indian paintbrush and purple lupine, that add color to the mix. During the peak spring wildflower season, a permit is required to park at the Dog Mtn Trailhead parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays. Permit season for 2024 is April 27 – June 16 and Memorial Day. If there are no permits available, hikers may take the shuttle from Stevenson and a hand stamp will serve as your hiking permit.

Oregon Coast

“Kayaking in the Yaquina Bay gives you a great experience to get up close to sea lions and the NOAA research vessels, and check out a huge variety of waterfowl, including Great Blue Herons and Brown pelicans. On the south side of the Yaquina Bridge by the Rogue Brewers on the Bay is a non-motorized boat launch–and a great walking pier you can fish and crab from, or just enjoy the view of the bridge.” Rian Martinsen, Director of Safety.

Kayaking Yaquina Bay provides enthusiasts with an intimate way to explore its diverse ecosystem, from its tranquil estuaries to its bustling harbor. Paddlers can enjoy lovely views of the Oregon coast while gliding through calm waters, encountering wildlife such as seals, seabirds, and even occasional whales. With convenient launch points and opportunities for both leisurely paddling and more adventurous exploration, Yaquina Bay offers recreation for kayakers of all skill levels.

Willamette Valley

“My recommendation is Silver Falls. There are several really nice hikes around the falls and the adjacent area. There is a sort of a cave behind the falls that is part of the trail where you can sit and have a snack while enjoying the view.” Jeff Stafford, Superintendent

The Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon is a breathtaking hiking experience renowned for its natural beauty and cascading waterfalls. Spanning around 8.7 miles, this well-maintained trail winds through lush forests, offering stunning viewpoints of ten majestic waterfalls along the way. As visitors explore the Trail of Ten Falls, they are immersed in the tranquil ambiance of the Pacific Northwest, making it an unforgettable outdoor adventure.


At O’Brien, we believe in prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees. As you’ll recall the first quarter of 2024 is our Preventative Care Incentive campaign! We understand the importance of proactive healthcare measures in maintaining a happy and productive people, which is why we’re incentivizing our employees to prioritize their health through preventative care.

What’s in it for You?

Starting January 1st, 2024, until March 31st, 2024, O’Brien will be giving away a $100 gift card to each employee who completes their annual preventative exam. Yes, you read that right – a $100 gift card just for taking care of yourself! It’s our way of showing appreciation for your commitment to staying healthy and proactive about your well-being.

No Cost to You

Worried about deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses? Fear not! Our preventative care is 100% covered, with no deductible required, by providers that are In Network with Cigna. This means you can take advantage of a wide range of preventative services without worrying about what you might have to pay.

What’s Included?

Immunizations

Age-appropriate exams and health screenings

Mental health screenings

Cancer screenings

Women’s health screenings

Well child exams

How to Participate

Participating in our Preventative Care Incentive Program is easy. Simply schedule your annual preventative exam with an In Network provider with Cigna between January 1st, 2024, and March 31st, 2024. Once you’ve completed your exam, Cigna will provide a report of who completed their preventive care appointments. No information other than your name will be given to us, of course. For those of you not on the Cigna plan, you can simply provide a document signed by your physician that you had your visit. Gift cards will be distributed by the end of April.

Remember, your health is your most valuable asset. Take advantage of this opportunity to prioritize yourself and earn rewards while doing so. Let’s make 2024 the healthiest year yet for all of us at O’Brien!

If you have any questions or need assistance scheduling your preventative exam, don’t hesitate to reach out to HR. We’re here to support you every step of the way on your journey to optimal health.

Stay healthy, stay proactive, and let’s reap the rewards together!


Jackie Keogh

Q&A with Jackie

During college I started working as an intern at a community development corporation north of Boston. Prior to my internship, I never even knew that affordable housing finance was a field that existed, much less a field for women. I was lucky enough to have mentors who helped me to find my way in this industry. The affordable housing field hooked me because it brings together so many siloed industries – nonprofit, construction, and client services.

O’Brien is thrilled to be working along with Jackie and her team at Rooted at Simpson, which will bring 99 units of affordable housing to Bend, including 40 single-family homes.


Two submissions have been entered for DJC’s Top Project 2024. We extend our gratitude to all involved in Nestucca CTE and The Stephanie Inn projects! Stay tuned until June to discover the winners. Meanwhile, explore brief insights into each project below.

Nestucca CTE aerial

Like many rural areas, the Nestucca region of the Oregon Coast faces challenges in providing diverse and accessible educational opportunities for its youth. Nestucca Valley School District’s (NVSD) recently completed new Career Technical Education (CTE) Center seeks to address this gap by offering hands-on opportunities for technical and vocational education tailored to meet the evolving needs of students and industries alike.

To meet the forward-thinking client’s goals, the building needed to be flexible and adaptable; having the ability to build a tiny home or trailer in the space and provide courses that varied from virtual welding simulators to a full-scale wood shop. With those goals in mind, the team set out to design and build a fully enclosed CTE building that would allow the spaces to be used with flexibility, providing courses and training for students.

Having a client with a vision for its community backed up with optimism and gumption set the tone for the team’s high level of collaboration towards defined goals including:

Empowerment through Education: Provide students with hands-on, practical learning experiences that equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in various career paths.

Industry Alignment: Collaborate closely with local businesses, industries, and community partners to ensure that program offerings align with workforce demands and industry standards.

Career Pathway Development: Establish clear and defined pathways for students to explore different career options, allowing them to make informed decisions about their future endeavors.

Equity and Inclusion: Foster an inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity and promotes equal opportunities for all students, regardless of background or circumstances.

Community Engagement: Actively engage with the Nestucca community to garner support, involvement, and feedback, ensuring that the CTE Center remains responsive to the needs of its constituents.

Stephanie Inn exterior aerial
Stephanie Inn Aerial View

Imagine working on one of the most cherished destinations on Oregon Coast’s world class Cannon Beach over a series of projects spread over decades to evolve an iconic property over time to meet the needs of the most discerning guests. 

Now imagine that the most recent project was a large and complex renovation to rejuvenate and elevate the guest experience to new heights. And that the renovation had to be compressed into a short few months to meet a hard stop of guest reservations booked solid with absolutely no wiggle room for “heads on beds.” 

This is the story of our most recent comprehensive renovation of the historic Stephanie Inn, long admired for its timeless charm and exceptional hospitality.  The story is differentiated by its incredibly demanding attention to every detail of high design and craftsmanship of construction, further complicated by overlaying one of the industry’s most challenging times for accessing materials and labor, and subsequently requiring an “all hands-on deck” approach to four months of implementation. 

Project Objectives: 

  • Enhanced Comfort and Elegance: Redefine luxury by refurbishing guest rooms, suites, and common areas with modern amenities, sumptuous furnishings, and refined décor that exudes coastal sophistication. 
  • Expanded Amenities: Introduce new amenities and services to cater to the diverse needs of guests, including spa facilities, fitness center, curated dining experiences, and personalized concierge services. 
  • Sustainability Initiatives: Implement eco-friendly practices and technologies to minimize the inn’s environmental footprint while preserving the natural beauty of Cannon Beach. 
  • Preservation of Heritage: Respect and honor the rich heritage and character of the Stephanie Inn by preserving its architectural integrity and cultural significance throughout the renovation process. 
  • Seamless Guest Experience: Ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience for guests during the renovation period, with minimal disruption to their stay and an unwavering commitment to exceptional service. 

Viewpoint video

O’Brien is thrilled to share this new video by Viewpoint Project, which specializes in short-form Public Television stories. Viewpoint features ground-breaking organizations and industry professionals around the world, and they approached us to tell our story. Happy viewing!